Influence of the Foreign Actors on the Values of Central Asian Countries

Topics: Asia, Central Asia, Soviet Union Pages: 7 (2722 words) Published: April 5, 2013
Influence of the foreign actors on the values of Central Asian countries Introduction
Central Asia is neighbor to few countries, which play a strategic role in the world. It is a special region in the sense that it has “European traditions” and it is – unlike many other territories in today’s world – not antagonistic toward the West and it values. In fact, they welcome western ideologies and try to follow them. A considerable part of the population in Central Asia regards the European way of social and political development the most desirable for their country. Such world leaders as Russia, United States of America, European Union, China and Islamic states have had a profound influence on the value priorities of Central Asian countries over the years. This essay is aimed at analyzing these value changes, by focusing primarily on the European Union’s influence on Central Asia. Competition among the superpowers for Central Asia

The five former soviet Central Asian states: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan first appeared on the political world map only after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Their first steps on the international stage did however not get much attention from great powers. This was the case with the EU too. As H. Wegener states it: “these nations barely registered on Europe’s political radar.” The reason for this, according to N. Kassenova, was that “in the 1990s, Europe regarded Central Asia as the most backward and undeveloped part of the CIS, unprepared to embrace Western standards and values.” The situation began slowly to change only by the end of the nineties when leading energy companies of the world made their first serious investments in the region’s energy sector, primarily in Kazakhstan. The political attention was really focused on Central Asia only after the 2001 terrorist attack on the United States and the subsequent war in Afghanistan. Depending on their interests and capabilities the five Central Asian states gave smaller or greater support to the forces of the International Coalition, so their strategic value has also grown. Now it is more or less clear that there are three different sets of reasons why Central Asia can be interesting for the outside world. These reasons are: geopolicy, energy and social development. As for its geopolitical location, the five former Soviet Central Asian states have long borders with Russia, China, Afghanistan and Iran all these countries play a significant role in today’ world politics. Russia and China - allies when dealing with the West, but also rivals, when it concerns the dominance in Central Asia. Iran’s antagonism to the US, its suspicious nuclear program combined with its role in the Middle East conflict make this country a key actor in many present day political problems. The Western border of Central Asia, the Caspian Sea is the focal point of Europe’ energy security. This question leads us to the second group of reasons, to factors dealing with energy resources, their exploitation and transportation. There are three countries here, capable of exporting huge amounts of natural oil and gas: Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazahkstan. The third set of reasons, broadly determined as social development refers to the battle of ideas in Central Asia. It is a unique region of the world thanks to its multiethnicity and multiculturalism. Kazakhstan, for example, boasts for being the homeland of 102 different nationalities and the example for their peaceful coexistence. But the truth is not so bright, and even less bright in other countries of the region. Central Asia, which is unlike many other regions of the world - not antagonistic toward the West and its values, can be a test case in democratic development. The regions offer five different cases, on the example of five countries, of transformation from authoritarianism to democracy. Types of value systems in Central Asia

There are at least six value systems that...

References: Blank, S. U.S. Interests in Central Asia and the Challenges to Them. Strategic Studies Institute Monograph. 2007
Bobokulov, I. Central Asia: Is there an alternative to regional integration? In Central Asian Survey. 2006, vol. 25, no. 1-2, p. 75-91.
Kassenova, N. The EU in Central Asia: Strategy in the context of Eurasian geopolitics. In Central Asia and the Caucasus. 2007, vol. 46, no. 4, p. 99-107.
Khalid, Adeeb (2007). Islam After Communism: Religion and Politics in Central Asia. Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Wegener, H. Central Asia: At last Europe may be getting its act together. In Europe’s World. 2007, Spring, p. 16-21.
Melvin, N. The European Union’s Strategic Role in Central Asia. In CEPS Policy Brief. 2007, p. 3-6.
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