By Dmitry Shlapentokh
November 15, 2017, the CACI Analyst
At first glance, Turkmenistan’s decision in January 2017 to stop selling gas to Iran was a minor episode in the context of an otherwise friendly relationship between Tehran and Ashgabat, as indicated by several meetings of high Iranian and Turkmen officials following the clash over gas deliveries. However, the tension with Iran could imply serious problems for Turkmenistan and lead to increasing dependence on Beijing, regardless of all Ashgabat’s maneuvering. Turkmenistan’s fallout with Iran also limits the ability of both the West and the South to access Central Asian gas and facilitates an increasing Chinese influence in this part of Eurasia, providing additional opportunities for China’s resurrection of the Silk Road.
By Tristan Kenderdine
October 19, 2017, the CACI Analyst
International Capacity Cooperation is China’s policy answer to comparative advantage, a vast state-planning exercise to coordinate China’s trade and investment strategy in external geographies. It is the practical industrial policy matrix allowing industries, local governments, and policy banking to intersect with partner economies as part of the wider geoeconomic Belt and Road strategy. For China’s aluminum sector, which is already heavily state subsidized and widely considered to be dumping on international markets, it represents an opportunity to extend the lifespan of the industrial policy and policy bank model. The formation of an aluminum capacity cooperation enterprise alliance should be a warning signal to the non-ferrous metals industries of China’s trading partners in Central Asia.
By Stephen Blank
October 16, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The recent Indo-Chinese crisis over the Doklam area has been peacefully resolved for now, yet its repercussions risk spilling over to both South and Central Asia and beyond. The Doklam clash has demonstrated to China that it can no longer push India around, and India immediately registered that lesson in self-confidence by stating that it will play a larger role in Southeast Asia, another area where they both jostle for influence. Similarly, we can expect an expanded rivalry in Central Asia, not least within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) now that India and Pakistan are both members.
By John C. K. Daly
September 27, 2017, the CACI Analyst
On August 22, after nearly 16 years of war in Afghanistan, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to increase the U.S. military presence there, extending the longest war in U.S. history and adding billions more dollars to its cost, now estimated to over US$ 1 trillion since 2001. In searching for revenue streams to support this outlay an idea that has been around for more than a decade is being revived: exploiting Afghanistan’s rich, underused mineral wealth. Despite the extent of the country’s mineral deposits being well known, many impediments remain to their development despite international interest.
By Sudha Ramachandran
September 7, 2017, the CACI Analyst
With its shuttle diplomacy between Pakistan and Afghanistan to ease tensions between the two neighbors, China has expanded its peacemaking role in the Afghan conflict. Successful peacemaking is vital for ensuring stability in the region, which in turn is needed to secure the future of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It will require Beijing to move beyond offering Kabul and Islamabad economic incentives to address the core issue underlying Afghanistan-Pakistan estrangement: alleged support to acts of terror directed against each other. Given its own strong interests in undertaking peacemaking, can China be an honest broker?
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.