Research Report

CENTRAL ASIA’S SHRINKING CONNECTIVITY GAP:: IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. STRATEGY

Roman Muzalevsky
Copyright Date: Nov. 1, 2014
Pages: 188
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep11955
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. vii-viii)
    DOUGLAS C. LOVELACE JR.

    Once sealed off from the rest of the world during the Soviet times, the states of Central Asia today are rapidly integrating with the global economy. The opening up of China in the 1980s, the demise of the Soviet Union a decade later, and the ongoing globalization have all served as grand forces facilitating this highly monumental development. The U.S. regional military involvement after September 11, 2001, and engagement by other actors have further enabled these countries to reconnect with the world, this time as sovereign units. Today, more than 2 decades after they gained their independence, the Central Asian...

  2. (pp. 1-6)

    Today’s world marks the era of profound changes in the international system over the last 2 1/2 decades. From globalization and fragmentation tendencies to transnational threats and the emergence of new power centers, the international order has been under stress, challenging the United States as the strongest power to address security issues of global scale, including in the remote region of Central Asia. It is in this region that one can track the emergence of the U.S. global supremacy after the collapse of the Soviet Union and observe its relative decline at the start of the 21st century due to...

  3. (pp. 7-60)

    The opening up of China in the 1980s and the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 proved to be the most significant geopolitical developments for Central Asia in the last 3 decades. Once sealed off and heavily militarized due to the Sino-Soviet tensions in the 1960s and the Sino-Indian war in 1962,2 Central Asian states embarked on domestic development and integration with the global economy as independent entities beginning in the 1990s. Opportunities emerged and continue to emerge for the regional countries to build energy, trade, and transit links with Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. These evolving...

  4. (pp. 61-98)

    Central Asia’s connectivity framework is the product of the region’s vast energy, metal, and rare earth mineral resources, developing infrastructure, attempts by Central Asian countries to pursue multivector foreign policies, as well as regional and global dynamics shaping numerous initiatives in the areas of trade, energy, information, and transport. As a hub of human and resource flows linking dynamic economies in Eurasia, the Central Asian region is of interest to both “Rimland” and “Heartland” powers seeking to form and direct these flows.2 To understand the region’s connectivity framework, one has also to consider major trends that are defining Central Asia...

  5. (pp. 99-130)

    Despite the fast-developing trade, energy, and transit infrastructure within and between Central and South Asia driven by the dynamism of neighboring economies and, to a lesser extent, the local economies themselves, the regional countries lag in global connectedness. Their landlocked status and major technical, economic, and political challenges constrain their global market access and international trade flows, impeding the region’s internal and external connectivity.

    The “modern activity gap” concept (see Figure 4-2) underscores the lack of information connectivity to the global communication flows in the late-1990s for the region comprising parts of Central and South Asia and extending from the...

  6. (pp. 131-154)

    While the U.S. supremacy is unrivaled and unlikely to end any time soon, the rise of new centers of power has challenged the U.S. traditional role and efforts to shape global and regional security orders. “Multicentricity,”² or even “nonpolarity,”³ as well as the dispersion and fluidity of power spurring new modes of interaction are now the defining features of the international system. This system rests on international economic, financial, and institutional linkages spanning the entire globe and dynamically interacts with the process of globalization. It has neither the place nor the tolerance for unipolarity once ascribed to the United States...

  7. (pp. 155-162)

    Central Asian countries largely had been closed to the outside world during the Soviet times. But the opening up of China in the 1980s, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the advance of globalization ever since have enabled them to connect with the global economy as independent units. The U.S. military involvement after September 11, 2001 (9/11) and the engagement by Japan, the European Union (EU), and Turkey have allowed the regional countries to shrink their connectivity gaps even further. More profoundly, it is China’s rapidly growing global and regional profile, India’s slow but progressing reconnection with...