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Central Asia's Second Chance

Central Asia's Second Chance

Martha Brill Olcott
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 389
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  • Book Info
    Central Asia's Second Chance
    Book Description:

    A leading authority on Central Asia offers a sweeping review of the region's path from independence to the post-9/11 world. The first decade of Central Asian independence was disappointing for those who envisioned a straightforward transition from Soviet republics to independent states with market economies and democratic political systems. Leaders excused political failures by pointing to security risks, including the presence of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. The situation changed dramatically after 9/11, when the camps were largely destroyed and the United States introduced a military presence. More importantly the international community engaged with these states to give them a "second chance" to address social and economic problems. But neither the aid-givers nor the recipients were willing to approach problems in new ways. Now, terrorists groups are once again making their presence felt and some states may be becoming global security risks. This book explores how the region squandered its second chance and what might happen next.

    eISBN: 978-0-87003-287-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Jessica T. Mathews

    The strategic importance of Central Asia has been widely recognized since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The subsequent U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan transformed the region into a front line in the global struggle against terror. But the region’s leaders remain strange bedfellows for democratic regimes.

    InCentral Asia’s Second Chance, Carnegie senior associate Martha Brill Olcott, an internationally recognized scholar and policy analyst who has studied and traveled in Central Asia for thirty years, vividly depicts the region’s many challenges. She writes that renewed international interest in Central Asia is unlikely to resolve urgent social and economic challenges, given...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xi)
  5. Abbreviations and Acronyms
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  6. 1 After September 11, An Unexpected Chance
    (pp. 1-19)

    The terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, demonstrated what can happen when the international community turns its back on a region—in this case, Afghanistan and its neighbors—and its problems. Yet despite all the money subsequently devoted to the war on terror and to preventing a repeat of the circumstances that allowed Al Qaeda to thrive, the prospect of new failed states developing in Central Asia is greater today than it was then. In March 2005 Kyrgyzstan’s president, Askar Akayev, was driven from office by an angry mob, and less than one month later Uzbekistan’s...

  7. 2 Central Asia Play: The First Ten Years of Independence
    (pp. 20-51)

    If we are to understand what the odds were for the West and Central Asia to make the most of this second chance for renewed engagement, we must understand the ways in which the first chance was squandered in the decade from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 through September 11, 2001.

    The debate over whether the first decade of independence in Central Asia was a success or failure is a highly contentious, and it was no less so before the attacks of September 11. In fact, such conflicting evaluations of the economic and political transitions have been...

  8. 3 The Geopolitics of Central Asia prior to September 11
    (pp. 52-82)

    The Central Asian states did not anticipate independence, and the international community never envisioned it for them. It is not surprising then that relationships between these states and their more powerful neighbors had a tentative quality in the decade following the collapse of the Soviet Union. For all the hype about the potential of Central Asia and the Caspian region, most of the international community spent the better part of the 1990s trying to figure out what priority to assign these newly independent states. Likewise, the Central Asian states were themselves uncertain how to prioritize the offers of the foreign...

  9. 4 Meeting Social and Economic Burdens
    (pp. 83-123)

    Most of the bleakest predictions involving the future of the Central Asian states assumed that these governments would be unable to meet the social burdens posed by their populations, causing public dissatisfaction that would undermine political stability. This chapter examines the social and economic challenges that these countries face, the risks that the challenges pose, and whether developments subsequent to September 11, 2001, have reduced those challenges.

    From the late 1990s observers of the region began warning that growing unemployment, increasing poverty, and fraying health-care and education systems (especially in densely populated rural areas) were making most of the Central...

  10. 5 Failures of Political Institution Building Create the Challenge of Succession
    (pp. 124-172)

    Since September 11, 2001, policy makers in Washington have sought ways to use increases in foreign assistance money to jump-start the process of democratic reform in Central Asia, initially as part of a regional strategy for rebuilding Afghanistan. But the war in Iraq shifted the attention of U.S. nation builders, leaving them little creative energy and diminished resources to apply to Central Asia. And even after Georgia’s Rose revolution, when democratic change in post-Soviet states became a prospect with real likelihood, U.S. priorities rested with those countries that seemed better prepared for such democratic transitions.

    The need for the Central...

  11. 6 Changing Geopolitics: Less Has Changed than One Might Think
    (pp. 173-205)

    The war on terror has increased the strategic importance of the Central Asian states for Washington, but it has not led to dramatic changes in the security environment in the region. None of these states is likely to follow the path of Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and none is likely to be admitted into any of the key European political and economic associations. The reason for this is not their location east of the Urals, but rather their governments’ failure to progress toward European economic and political norms. While the Kyrgyz may claim...

  12. 7 What to Expect from the Future: Dealing with Common Problems
    (pp. 206-244)

    The terrorist attacks of September 11 on New York and Washington were a defining moment in international affairs. They led to a major reorientation of U.S. foreign policy, with Washington deciding to counterattack at the sources of terror, and to an energized effort by the global community to curtail support for terrorist groups.

    It is still much too early to say whether the U.S. will achieve its new foreign policy objectives. The security situation in Afghanistan is stabilizing, and a popularly elected government is in place. Now it remains to be seen whether President Hamid Karzai can get the international...

  13. Appendix 1. Basic Information by Country
    (pp. 246-250)
  14. Appendix 2. Key Economic Indicators
    (pp. 251-251)
  15. Appendix 3. Key Social Indicators
    (pp. 252-252)
  16. Appendix 4. Multilateral Assistance
    (pp. 253-253)
  17. Appendix 5. U.S. Government Assistance Before and After 9/11
    (pp. 254-258)
  18. Appendix 6. Freedom Support Act Funding 1992–2003
    (pp. 259-263)
  19. Appendix 7. Economic Growth, 1990–2002
    (pp. 264-264)
  20. Appendix 8. Major Joint Venture Projects
    (pp. 265-267)
  21. Appendix 9. Energy Production
    (pp. 268-268)
  22. Appendix 10. Freedom House Democracy Indicators
    (pp. 269-270)
  23. Appendix 11. Combating the Flow of Drugs
    (pp. 271-271)
  24. Appendix 12. Key Political Parties
    (pp. 272-279)
  25. Appendix 13. Islamic Organizations
    (pp. 280-283)
  26. Appendix 14. Major Cities—Old and New Names
    (pp. 284-285)
  27. Notes
    (pp. 287-342)
  28. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 343-374)
  29. Index
    (pp. 375-387)
  30. About the Author
    (pp. 388-388)
  31. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    (pp. 389-389)
  32. Back Matter
    (pp. 390-390)