By Richard Weitz
August 3, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The June Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana marked the SCO’s first membership expansion since its creation in 2001. By finally ending this logjam, the SCO has raised expectations of continued enlargement and increased geopolitical weight. However, major obstacles to further growth persist; meanwhile, more members deepen the mutual tensions and rivalries within the institution.
By Michael Clarke
July 20, 2017, the CACI Analyst
President Xi Jinping’s ambitious “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) seeks to make China the hub of trans-Eurasian economic connectivity by linking the Chinese economy with the major continental and maritime zones of the Eurasian continent through both physical and financial infrastructure. President Xi has proclaimed that BRI will “benefit people across the whole world” as it will be based on the “Silk Road spirit” of “peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness”. This rhetoric may be enhancing Beijing’s diplomatic position but it is one that rings hollow in China’s own Eurasian frontiers such as Xinjiang where BRI is coinciding with the imposition of new forms of political and social control.
By Boris Ajeganov
January 23, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Foreign investment in Georgia is strengthening the country’s importance in connecting East Asia with Europe, which has positive implications for the broader region. The rise in FDI in commercial and transportation infrastructure in combination with the signing of international free trade agreements will reduce Georgia’s vulnerability in terms of economic and, ultimately, ‘hard’ security. The growing importance of the South Caucasus as node for EU-China trade will weaken Russia’s incentives to undermine its southern neighbors by military, political, and economic means as it has done in the past. Accordingly, Tbilisi’s ability to conduct an independent foreign policy is set to improve despite the absence of Western security guarantees.
By Robert M. Cutler
August 28th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
On June 25, Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China met in Beijing, immediately after spending two days together in Tashkent at a summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The two countries’ industrial cooperation is dominated by the energy sector, where the several dozen agreements that were signed in Beijing confirmed that in bilateral economic and trade relations China is the agenda-maker and Russia is the agenda-taker. This relationship is now extending itself to the geoeconomic competition between the two in Central Asia and East Central Eurasia generally, as well as into Greater South Asia at a slower pace.
By Sudha Ramachandran
May 26th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Iran’s location near key trade routes and strategic waterways could make it a major Eurasian trade and transit corridor in the coming decades. China is keen to tap into Iran’s potential. But will Iran’s rise as a trade hub undermine the importance and prospects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)? This possibility has raised concerns in Pakistan that China’s commitment to making the Gwadar port a key node in the CPEC could dwindle as Iran’s trade corridors take shape and if Pakistan’s government fails to address China’s security concerns.
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.