Geostrategy of the main rivals of Chinese geopolitics in the Сentral Asian region

The richest natural resources of Central Asia and military-strategic position as a geopolitical feature of the region and the reason for the interest of the world powers here. The main ways and importance of achieving a leading position in the region.

Рубрика Политология
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 15.10.2018
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Geostrategy of the main rivals of Chinese geopolitics in the central Asian region

Central Asia after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of new independent states in the region - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan-generated considerable interest from the closest neighbors and the largest west and east states.

The geopolitical, economic and ethnic features of the Central Asian region were analyzed. The spectrum of political, strategic and economic interests of The United States, China and Russia in the region in the context of national interests of each of the states are grouped and organized. Matching and opposing interests inbilateral format - The United States-Chi - na, Russia-China, The United States-Russia, and in the triangle of designated states are grounded.

Protecting the state's interests in international relations is often reduced because of its limited resources - political, economic, military-strategic, etc. In fact, there are no states with unlimited resources in the world. Even The United States which are claiming a global leadership and often leading policy of permissiveness, are forced to take into account the positions of other major states and associations - China, Russia, the EU and others because of their limited resources. Therefore, any state produces a priority system for better protection of their interests in a certain period. In fact, the public interests at the level of development and decision take a shape.

Most of the publications are devoted to the interests of one country or to only one of the spheres of interest, for example, strategic military or economic. These works contains an analysis of the problems of political relations in Central Asia and their interaction with world and regional leaders. At the same time, a complete picture of the interdependence and confrontation of interests of The United States, Russia and China in Central Asia is not represented in these works. An important source of research of western policies is the official documents of the U.S. Department of the State.

The geopolitical interests of The United States in Central Asia

Geopolitics and geostrategic of The United States are truly global in nature; they affect almost all regions and any state of the planet. The Central Asian republics are not exception. The influence of The United States has multifactorial and multilevel character, including political, military and strategic, economic and ideological aspects. Since the independence, the countries of Central Asia are experiencing American influence on almost all those areas.

Eurasian strategy of The United States is a part of Washington's global strategy. It aims at preserving the dominance of the White House in the world economy and financial system, strengthening the military and strategic superiority of America, expanding its geopolitical influence (including Eurasia), deterring potential rivals (China, European Union, Russia), combating so-called «international terrorism» (control of the Islamic world).

Washington politics in the states of Central Asia is divided into several stages, which already lend themselves to periodization today. The initial stage of the project, covering the first half of the 1990-ies (1991-1996), was characterized by a number of factors, determining this policy. They include the following:

- Firstly, The United States unofficially recognized geopolitical responsibility of Russia and its interests in the region;

- Secondly, the main problem, which is interesting for Washington in the context of strategic security, was the fate of the Soviet nuclear capability, hosted on the territory of Kazakhstan;

- And finally, the White House showed some concern about the prospects for strengthening positions in the region of Islamism, particularly given the proximity of Iran to Central Asia.

The new priorities in the strategy of the United States were demonstrated in the second phase (1996-2001). So, the problem of hydrocarbon resources of the Caspian region appeared in full growth, also the project of the pipeline by passing Russia and Iran appeared, later known as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.

In 1997 Central Asia and the Caspian region were declared as «zones of the vital interests of The United States». They are included in the scope of responsibility of The United States Central command. These changes are reflected in so-called «Talbot» doctrine. The United States announced that they do not intend to install their exclusive strategic presence in Central Asia, but at the same time they would not be tolerated it from other great powers. At this stage, in fact Washington had already stopped to reckon with «special interests» ofMoscow in the region.

The beginning of the third phase (2001-2005) coincided with the dramatic events of September 11, 2001. The United States launched a large-scale battle against international terrorism in the face of militant Islamic radicals, staged a military operation in Afghanistan and deployed within the framework of the anti-terrorist campaign military bases in a number of republics in Central Asia. It should be noted that the new approaches in the policy of The United States have been appeared immediately after coming to power of the Republican Administration of G. Bush, but due to the tumultuous events of 2001 adjustment in Central Asian strategy of Washington merged with the general context of the fight against international terrorism. [l, p. 46]

American analysts suggested rebuilding the strategy of Washington the region's republics, on the assumption that growing anti-American sentiment served as one of the reasons for the revision of the current public diplomacy of The United States towards Central Asia. Tendency to overestimate the past policy in the region with an emphasis on military-strategic cooperation with Tashkent has dramatically increased after a series of terrorist attacks in March, April and July of 2004.

Washington analysts suggested diversifying The United States military presence in the Central Asian republics in order to exert pressure on Tashkent. It was anticipated that it would increase the operational and diplomatic flexibility of American policy in Central Asia. In this regard, Kazakhstan has been examined as an alternative partner because its economic and political potentials were making the country as the most promising country in the region. [2, p. 39]

The main conclusion about United States strategy in the region is that it is determined first of all (and perhaps only) by geopolitical factors. Instead of support for the implementation of the agrarian reform, the development of high technologies, as well as increasing the size of the humanitarian assistance, the White House concentrated on the expansion of military-political contacts with the States of Central Asia and the Caucasus which is the core of the cooperation Washington with the countries of these regions.

The geopolitical interests of China in Central Asia

Chinese economic and political rising over the past two decades has become a key factor in world politics. Despite the fact that in recent years the economy of China has cooled somewhat, the trend towards further lifting Beijing persists. Meanwhile, the factor of rising China is extremely important for neighboring Central Asia. It is no secret that Beijing's influence in the region today is growing. The desire of China to go to active economic interaction, readiness to invest impressive amount of money in the realization of the necessary projects for the countries of Central Asia gradually is kindled political alertness and pushing the elite of the countries of the region to all closer interaction with the big neighbor [5, p. 41].

In 1991 Central Asian countries gained independence, so it meant a radical change for China's own geopolitical environment instead of the Soviet monolith a motley variety of smaller sovereign countries appeared on the map, internal and external course was not defined, and the prospects for development were still unclear. The Chinese leadership considered the Central Asian region as a «strategic rear», while the «front» of China's foreign policy is turned to the sea. In the same decade the significance of Central Asia as a source of resources for Chinese economy was realized in Beijing. The countries of the region (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) are also rich in hydrocarbon deposits. But Beijing was interested in Central Asia with other resources such as uranium and nonferrous metallurgy products.

In recent years, the states of Central Asia fully experienced a change of the strategy in economic policy of the Chinese leadership, which is shown in the explosive growth of investments abroad. Since 2011 China is faced to a slowdown in economic growth. One of the reasons causing inhibition is the relative depletion of opportunities for extensive development within the country and the resulting surplus production capacities, the rise of the local workforce, the growth of the debt burden and others [6, p. 11].

The firm establishment of the necessity to develop the country's western regions within the domestic policy of China became a new factor in Beijing's policy towards Central Asia because these areas are considerable imbalances in the regional dynamics of China today. China's western regions are more linked to Central Asia. Thus, almost one third of all trade in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China is related to Kazakhstan today.

The cooperation with Central Asian states in curbing extremism and maintaining regional stability has also been more relevant for China. In recent years revitalization of Islamists in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, the spread of radical ideas are serious concerns for Beijing.

The political and economic presence of Russia and China in Central Asia is expressed most strongly. Moscow maintains close humanitarian communication and has a major military presence in the region. The bases of Russia in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as membership of Astana, Bishkek and Dushanbe in the CSTO are the proof of it. But in the long term, Russia is a leaving power. But Chinese economic and political influence in the region is growing. Other international players, including The United States and The EU, affect on the Central Asian cases much weaker.

The coming to power in Washington of Donald Trump has not yet contributed to the American presence in the region. Washington plans are selective approach. They imply the cessation of financial assistance to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, reducing its volume by half for Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and the slight increase in financial support for Uzbekistan. It is likely that some of the projects, which Washington refuses, ultimately will «go away» to China [7, p. 55].

However, there are constraints on the growth of economic and political influence of China in Central Asia. Despite the benefits and advantages of cooperation with Beijing, the states of Central Asia are not interested in shaping political and economic dependence on China. The constraint factor is objective needs in its own producing economy. It is likely that countries in the region will continue to strive to balance the growing influence of Beijing by different forms of political, economic and military cooperation with other centers of power.

The geopolitical interests of Russia in Central Asia

Since at least the 17th century Russia actively defend its geopolitical interests in Central Asia along with the other major powers of the world since. But the 21st century also did not become an exception, and it created a new geopolitical situation in the region. New independent states have emerged. «Russia will step up cooperation with CIS member states in the sphere of ensuring mutual security, includingjoint struggle against common threats and challenges, first and foremost international terrorism, extremism, illicit trafficking drugs, transnational crime and illegal migration. Priorities are specified in the neutralization of threats emanating from Afghanistan territory, preventing the destabilization of the situation in Central Asia and the Caucasus». [4, p. 19]

The maj or problems that bother the Russian Federation are the consequences of the withdrawal of coalition forces NATO from Afghanistan and The United States Administration's plans to leave the property and equipment of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, perhaps, also Kazakhstan.

Central Asia remains the principal transit route for illicit drugs to Russia and further to Europe. So Russian cooperation with Central Asian countries in various formats aimed at establishment of coordinated approaches to solving such problems. Often it implies the provision of resources to countries in the region for fight in the hope that they will stop the drug transit on its territory to Russia. Considering the magnitude of the Afghan drug threat, it can only be overcome by the whole world, relying on the United Nations and regional organiza - tions-CIS, SCO and CSTO.

A host of ambitious foreign policy goals are associated with Russia's geopolitical interests in Central Asia. They are promoting by Russia various integration mechanisms and organizations according to the status of the main and predominant actor in «their» region and the title of «great power» globally, as Moscow plays a leading role in post-Soviet integration. [4, p. 38] If offensive spirit and expansionism characterized the geopolitics of the Soviet Union in Eurasia then the geopolitics of post-Soviet Russia was defensive in nature. Russia's attempts to retain its influence in the post-Soviet space are faced with the interests of the world's major powers: The EU and The United States in the West; Turkey, Iran and China in the East.

Pakistan and India are indirectly involved in this rivalry. Moscow is increasingly seeks to bring these states to maximally close relations with Russia. The Kremlin sees as an obstacle to the implementation of its strategy in the presence of many other foreign powers in Central Asia because Central Asian countries go from Moscow's orbit and moving away from their post-Soviet identity. Russia also considers Central Asia as an important element of its large energy strategy. In the early-to-mid 2000's, the Russian economy was going forward on a wave ofhigh-en - ergy prices. One of the equation was the condition that Russia buy eneigy resources in Central Asia at low prices, uses them to meet domestic needs and the own energy supplies for export, providing national economic growth. Moscow seeks to maintain a situation when pipelines in this region go through its territory, so that the energy of the Central Asian countries is not left on the side.

«Moscow cannot ignore the influence of China». [8, p. 63] China beats Russia with its economic power and increasingly displaces it from the region. However, relating to the security Russia and those multilateral associations, which she chairs, are still more important and meaningful.


military strategic geopolitical region

1. Davis J.K., Sweeny M.J. Central Asia on U.S. Strategy and Operational Planning: Where Do We Go From Here? Washington, D.C.: IFRA, 2004.

2. Rywkin M. Stability in Central Asia: Engaging Kazakhstan. A Report (with Policy Recommendations) on U.S. Interests in Central Asia and U.S.-Kazakhstan Relations. N.Y.: NCAFP, 2005; Schwab G.D., Rywkin M. Security and Stability in Central Asia: Differing Interests and Perspectives. N.Y.: NCAFP, 2006.

3. Звягельская И. Ключи от счастья, или Большая Центральная Азия. Россия в глобальной политике. 2005, Т. 3. №4. С. 88-93;

4. Старр Ф. Партнерство для Центральной Азии. Россия в глобальной политике. 2005. Т. 3. №4.

5. Кузьмина Е.М. Геополитика Центральной Азии. М. «Наука». 2007; Лаумулин М. «Большая Центральная Азия» (БЦА) новый мега-проект США? URL: //http://centrasia. oTg/newsA.php4? st=l 132564860

6. Ли Лифань, Дин, Шиу. Геополитические интересы России, США и Китая в Центральной Азии. Центральная Азия и Кавказ. 2004. №3.

7. Либман А.М., Хейфец Б.А. Экспансия российского капитала в страны СНГ. М. «Экономика» 2006.

8. Amineh М., Parvizi М., Houweling H. Central Eurasia in Global Politics: Conflict, Security and Development Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2004.

9. Gill B., Oresman M. China's New Journey to the West. China's Emergence in Central Asia and Implications for U.S.lnterests. A report of the CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies. Forewordby Z. Brzezinski Washington, D.C.: The CSIS, 2003.

10. Кондратьев B.A., Хамидов З.Ш. Роль и место Центральной Азии в современном мире: сб. научных статей. М., 2004.

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