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  • Author: Paul A. Goble
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Azerbaijan’s victory in the Second Karabakh War (September 29–November 9) has had a transformative effect on the country. It not only changed the attitudes of its population, whose members now feel themselves to be heroes rather than victims (see EDM, January 21), but also bolstered the diplomatic weight and possibilities of the Azerbaijani government in its dealings with other regional states. In prosecuting a triumphant war against Yerevan, Baku demonstrated its own ability to act. But just as importantly, Azerbaijan has shown to peoples and governments in the Caucasus and Central Asia that it is a force to be reckoned with, in part thanks to its growing links with Turkey. Moreover, that alliance makes possible an appealing path to the outside world for all who join it. That reality is causing countries east of the Caspian to look westward to and through Azerbaijan in their economic planning and political calculations. At the same time, however, these developments are generating concerns in Moscow and Tehran, which oppose east-west trade routes that bypass their countries’ territories and instead favor north-south corridors linking Russia and Iran together. As a result, Azerbaijan’s recent successes in expanding links with Central Asia set the stage for new conflicts between Azerbaijan and its Turkic partners, on the one hand, and Russia and Iran, which have far more significant naval assets in the Caspian, on the other (see EDM, November 27, 2018 and February 20, 2020; Casp-geo.ru, December 24, 2019; Chinalogist.ru, November 21, 2019).
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Central Asia, Middle East, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Daniel R. Russel, Blake Berger
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Launched in 2013, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a highly ambitious development effort that would sew together infrastructure projects across more than 70 countries. Estimated to comprise of more than USD $1 trillion in Chinese investment, the BRI is arguably China's broadest economic engagement effort with the rest of the world — enhancing its connectivity through Southeast, South, Central, and West Asia; Africa; Europe; and South America. The Asia Society Policy Institute project – Navigating the Belt and Road Initiative – examines BRI with the aim of setting forth actionable recommendations for how China and partner countries can help ensure that BRI projects yield beneficial and sustainable developmental, economic, environmental, civic, and social outcomes. The project includes a report by the same name, which is available for download below, as well as an interactive visualization of 12 recommended practices and their specific implementation steps, intended outcomes, and relevant Chinese and international precedents. (For interactive content see: https://asiasociety.org/policy-institute/belt-and-road-initiative)
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment, Economic Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, South Asia, Central Asia, Asia, South America, Southeast Asia, West Asia
  • Author: Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As a result of the change of power in Armenia in 2018, the Armenian-Azerbaijani talks on the territorial and ethnic conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh have intensified. However, they have not yielded results because the authorities of both countries are under strong internal public pressure, limiting the possibility of compromise. Russia is using the conflict as an instrument of political influence towards both countries. Strengthening the involvement of French and U.S. diplomacy in the work of the Minsk Group and increasing its importance would limit Russia’s role as the main mediator in the conflict.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Territorial Disputes, Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, United States of America
  • Author: Samantha Custer, Tanya Sethi, Jonathan A. Solis, Joyce Lin, Siddharta Ghose, Anubhav Gupta, Rodney Knight, Austin Baehr
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Many countries engage in public diplomacy—diplomatic instruments used to influence the perceptions, preferences, and actions of citizens and leaders in another country—as a means to win over foreign publics and advance national interests. In a new study and report published by AidData, in collaboration with the Asia Society Policy Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the authors look at the past two decades of China’s relationship cultivation—including efforts to balance negative perceptions of its growing military and economic strength—within its greater periphery, specifically the 13 countries of South and Central Asia. This study collected an unprecedented amount of qualitative and quantitative data on Beijing’s public diplomacy in the South and Central Asian region from 2000 through 2018. In the report Silk Road Diplomacy, the authors analyze this data to illuminate which tools Beijing deploys, with whom, and to what effects within this subregion.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Affairs, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Central Asia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Institute of World Economics and Politics
  • Abstract: The man who dreams of making his country a world power, Ahmet Davutoglu, the former Prime Minister of Turkey, gave an exclusive interview to the experts of the Institute of World Economics and Politics. The popular politician shared his thoughts on cooperation between Kazakhstan and Turkey, the Turkic world in general, and also assessed his participation in #AstanaClub. In the interview, we also touched upon the topics such as the crisis in #Myanmar, the foreign policy of the current US President, as well as the popularity of Turkish culture around the world. (Kazakh, Russian and English subtitles are available).
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Culture
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Eurasia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Myanmar
  • Author: Stephen Blank, Younkyoo Kim
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: For some time, Western sources have been accusing Moscow of backing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. However, little effort has been done to analyze the modalities of this support and the way it relates to Moscow's overall policies and objectives in Central and Southern Asia. This essay sets out to explain both the trend in Russia’s policies towards Afghanistan between 2013 and 2017, and the reasons underneath them. It explores Russia's actions vis-à-vis contending forces in Afghanistan and Central Asia in the broader context of Moscow’s rapprochement with Pakistan, its ties to India and China and overall anti-Americanism that has grown exponentially since 2014. We argue that this approach would provide a better understanding of Russia’s policies and objectives in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Taliban, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, Central Asia
  • Author: Katherine E. Himes
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Seton Hall University
  • Abstract: Science forms an important nexus with diplomacy and international relations. First, science in diplomacy supports foreign policy objectives. Second, diplomacy for science utilizes international relations to facilitate and advance cross-border scientific and engineering relationships and programs. Third, science for diplomacy leverages scientific and technical cooperation to bolster relations between and among countries. The term science diplomacy captures these three relationships.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Science and Technology, Water, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Moeed Yusuf
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: There are few viable options for resolving Afghanistan’s conflict other than an inclusive peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Momentum toward this goal must be maintained following the “Heart of Asia” Ministerial Conference on December 9, 2015, where Afghan, Pakistani, and U.S. officials renewed their commitment to resuming dialogue. This brief discusses three key concerns that need to be addressed to effectively move the peace process forward and achieve a near-term cease-fire.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: South Asia, Central Asia
  • Author: Gerald Knaus
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: The autocratic regime of President Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan has managed to steal the soul of Europe’s most important human rights institution, the Council of Europe. This article reveals Azerbaijan’s hidden agenda to neutralize the “naming and shaming” strategy of the international human-rights movement, build influence through “caviar diplomacy,” and unleash a wave of repression against human-rights defenders. For the Council of Europe, whose function is to defend the European Convention of Human Rights, to align itself with a regime jailing human-rights activists is unprecedented and deeply disturbing. As the space for human-rights organizations to operate is shrinking in many parts of the world today, the capture of the Council of Europe sends a warning to all supporters of human rights, and not only in Europe.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Human Rights, United Nations, NGOs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Caucasus, Asia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Sarah Stern, Anna Mitri
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: With the end of the ISAF mandate, Afghanistan will enter the "de-cade of transformation" in late 2014, and assume security for and within the country. The challenges with regard to security and governance are obvious; they attract much political and public attention.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Davood Kiani
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Center for Strategic Research (CSR)
  • Abstract: One of the most important tools utilized by states to maximize their impact in foreign affairs is public diplomacy and to this extent, public diplomacy is considered a source of soft power. The robust use of public diplomacy can enhance and reinforce the soft power of countries. Central Asia is among the regions that have an ever increasing relevance to regional and international affairs in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and is currently considered a critical subsystem for our country. The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran towards this region is, on one hand, built on the foundation of converging factors in political, economic, and cultural arenas and looking towards opportunities for influence and cooperation. On the other hand, considering the divergent components, it also faces challenges and threats, the sum of which continues to effect the orientation of Iranian foreign policy towards the region. This article will study Iranian public diplomacy in this region and examine the opportunities and challenges, as well as, provide and proper model for a successful public diplomacy in the region of Central Asia, while taking into account the Islamic Republic of Iran's tools and potential.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Islam, Politics, Culture
  • Political Geography: Iran, Central Asia
  • Author: Bulent Aliriza, Bülent Aras
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The partnership between the United States and Turkey, which traces its origins to the Cold War, has gone through constant adjustment since the beginning of the post–Cold War era.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Sean R. Roberts
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In looking at twenty years of independence in the former Soviet region of Central Asia, Kazakhstan stands out in most respects as a stable oasis in a desert of uncertainty. It is the wealthiest country in Central Asia. It has not suffered any serious conflict since gaining independence, and the development of its economy, financial sector, and private sector has been steadily moving forward as has its engagement with the global economy. It is little wonder, therefore, that the most stable and fruitful bilateral partnership for the United States in the region over the past twenty years has been with the Republic of Kazakhstan. US-Kazakhstan relations have never experienced a significant crisis, and there has been ongoing cooperation between the two countries in a variety of areas, including nuclear non-proliferation, economic development, and energy extraction.
  • Topic: Democratization, Diplomacy, Economics, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Joshua Kucera
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: U.S. military aid to Central Asia has substantially increased over the past 10 years with an increasingly large percentage going toward the training and equipping of Central Asian special forces units. In several cases, funding has been misappropriated by host governments, while the United States has tended to look the other way at such abuses. Military aid can have varying goals, but increases in funding and ambivalence by U.S, officials toward possible abuse of funds by Central Asian governments suggest that the primary motive of U.S. aid is to “buy” access to regional governments and militaries for cooperation in Afghanistan, rather than to improve defense institutions and militaries.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Central Asia
  • Author: Sinan Ülgen
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Turkey's vote against additional UN Security Council sanctions on Iran this year was viewed by many observers as a sign that Turkey is drifting away from the West. In reality, Ankara's relationship with the United States and the EU is much more complicated. Turkey's ambitious foreign policy and growing influence present the West with an opportunity to demand that Turkey play a more constructive role in the international community.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Iran, Central Asia, Turkey
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In October 2009, after intense diplomatic talks and the active involvement of key external actors, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian signed two protocols aimed at restoring bilateral relations. The agreements have however remained unratified due to political obstacles closely linked to historic disputes and the geopolitical constellation in the South Caucasus. As a result, even if rapprochement between Ankara and Yerevan has the potential of producing far-reaching changes in the regional political equilibrium, the status quo remains the most likely scenario.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Armenia, South Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: The Harriman Institute
  • Abstract: The Third Annual Russia/Eurasia Forum: How Central is Central Asia? Sponsored by the Harriman Institute, Columbia University, and the Kathryn W. and Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Eurasia
  • Author: Cengiz Aktar
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the present state of affairs regarding Turkey's European Union bid at the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the debut of the negotiations. At the first glance the tableau looks rather grim, the membership negotiations stalled, the political dialogue stuck and even the 15-years old customs union jeopardized by numerous political and administrative impediments. Parallel and due to this state of affairs, Turkey's modernization process once triggered by its aspirations to join the European Union is now fully Turkish driven. Despite this development, Turkey, the author argues, still benefits from the techniques, principles and standards of the Bloc and would need to do so in a foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Turkey
  • Author: Yalım Eralp
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: The Protocols signed between Armenia and Turkey constitute a significant threshold in the relationship between the two countries. The process of ratification has been stalled, especially due to issues in Turkish domestic politics, and the Protocols have been shelved for now. However, it is important to not completely kill the process. It would thus be helpful in terms of a soft transition into the future if both parties implement those clauses in the Protocols that do not require ratification.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkey, Armenia
  • Author: Ross Wilson, Damon Wilson
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: An arc of potential disorder and instability increasingly looms over Central Asia. This year's political turmoil and ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan illustrated the difficulties and dangers before the region –and that American interests confront there. Much of Central Asia is not succeeding economically or politically. Parts of it face the prospect of indigenous extremist violence and/or could become new safe havens for transnational threats emanating from Afghanistan. U.S. strategies that for years aimed to support the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and success of the new Central Asian states have come to be dominated by the exigencies of the Afghan war and an increasingly unproductive conversation on human rights and democracy. As a result, those strategies are failing, and U.S. policy is being marginalized.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Central Asia
  • Author: Nargis Kassenova
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There is a profound connection between economics and politics. A stronger economy creates a basis for more ambitious political actions and programmes. At the opposite end, an economic downturn and recession breed social tensions and can undermine the political order. Both the EU and Central Asian states have been seriously affected by the global economic crisis, in different ways. This EUCAM working paper focuses on the impact of the crisis on Central Asian politics and geopolitics and the implications of these developments for EU engagement in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia
  • Author: Sébastien Peyrouse
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since the start of the 2000s, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has become an increasingly important player on the Central Asian scene, which until then had been essentially divided between Russia and the US. Today, Central Asia's future lies in its ability to avoid the destabilisations of the Afghan–Pakistan zone, and through Chinese influence, to partake of the Asia–Pacific's economic prosperity. In less than two decades, Beijing has managed to make a massive and multiform entry onto the Central Asian scene: it has proven itself a loyal partner on the level of bilateral diplomacy and has succeeded in turning the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) into a regional structure appreciated by its members. China has also become a leading actor in trade as well as in the hydrocarbon sector and infrastructure. In examining the shift that China has generated in Central Asian realities, this paper focuses on the political and geopolitical impact of Beijing's growing influence, along with the economic implications of the Chinese presence in Central Asia. To what extent will this affect the objectives of the European Union? China is one of the EU's economic competitors in domains such as energy; it obstructs cooperation between Central Asian states and Western countries, and it encourages the authoritarian tendencies of political regimes. Yet, partnership and economic competition go hand in hand, as EU texts recognise. In addition, the EU's rationale for setting up in Central Asia is not to compete with neighbouring states, but instead to seek cooperation in accordance with the idea that a multiplicity of actors will guarantee the zone's stability and its geopolitical balance. So what joint interest might China and the EU have in Central Asia? On a certain number of questions such as security and long-term development, the EU and China share the same concerns and Beijing is seeking greater collaboration with Europe.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Central Asia
  • Author: Marlène Laruelle
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Russia is a power unlike others in Central Asia, given its role as the region's former coloniser, which started in the 19th century and even in the 18th for some of the northern parts of Kazakhstan. This legacy has its positive and negative aspects: it has been positive insofar as it has involved a long period of Russo–Central Asian cohabitation that has given rise to a common feeling of belonging to the same 'civilisation'; it has been negative insofar as it has accrued all the political resentment and cultural misinterpretations of the coloniser–colonised relationship. Russian–Central Asian relations are therefore complex, with each of the actors having a highly emotional perception of its relation to the other.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: Yitzhak Shichor
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Beginning in 1949, China considered, and dealt with, so-called Uyghur separatism and the quest for Eastern Turkestan (Xinjiang) independence as a domestic problem. Since the early 1990s, however, Beijing has begun to recognize the international aspects of this problem and to deal with its external manifestations. This new policy has affected China's relations with Turkey, which has ideologically inspired Uyghur nationalism, offered sanctuary to Uyghur refugees, and provided moral and material support to Eastern Turkestan movements, organizations, and activities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Minorities
  • Political Geography: China, Central Asia, Turkey
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Great power competition in Central Asia ebbs and flows in a timeless and tireless fashion. Unlike in Europe and East Asia during the Cold War and after, the fault line for the current jockeying for position in Central Asia between Washington and Beijing is not easily discernible. Instead, fluidity, uncertainty, and even outright reversal of fortunes among the major players have been the norm.
  • Topic: Cold War, Diplomacy, Economics, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, Central Asia, East Asia