By Stephen Blank (the 30/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The U.S. has decided to give up the base at Manas, presumably because that base is not worth retaining once it leaves Afghanistan next year, and will relocate the base to Romania. Washington is instead moving most of its logistics through Pakistan, with a corresponding decline in the use of the Northern Distribution Network. Once U.S. forces leave Afghanistan there will be no military presence in Central Asia to speak of. Second, the TAPI gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan, nominally the centerpiece of America’s New Silk Road initiative, languishes for lack of any financing.
By Richard Weitz (the 30/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
NATO’s inability to commit to a definite role in Afghanistan beyond 2014, along with perceived strategic setbacks in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, are reinforcing the narrative promoted by the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Iran, and to a lesser extent Russia and China, that a war-weary West is abandoning Eurasia. Urgent measures are needed during the next months to reverse this perception before it gains irreversible momentum. The perception is already leading regional players to hedge against the expected consequences of a diminished NATO role. NATO needs to reaffirm and clarify its commitment to Afghanistan and Eurasia.
By Yelena Sadovskaya (the 30/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Over the last ten years, an increasing number of students from Central Asian countries are going to China to study. Kazakhstan ranks first in this list. In the 2003/2004 academic year, only 20 Kazakhstani students obtained education in China under the state student exchange program with Republic of Kazakhstan, while after signing a bilateral agreement on cooperation in 2006, the number of students and trainees – under all kinds of programs (state, corporative and commercial where students pay for themselves), increased several times. According to China’s Ministry of Education, in 2010 as many as 7,874 Kazakhstani students were getting education in China and 1,500 Chinese students in Kazakhstan.
By Temuri Yakobashvili (the 16/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Twenty years after establishing diplomatic relations with the Central Asia states, China’s economic engagement in the region has expanded to billions of dollars in investments, loans, and energy sales. President Xi Jinping’s September tour concluded with extended aid sums reminiscent of the Marshall Plan. Agreements focused on the fields of energy, trade and finance, and infrastructure, cementing China’s role as Central Asia’s primary economic benefactor. China continues to outpace Russia in both bilateral trade and foreign direct investment measures, though President Xi Jinping is careful not to challenge Russian political primacy in the region. China’s contributions to Central Asia should not discourage the West from participating in regional integration projects and enjoying the rewards.
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.