Playing catchup again…

by CXW on 8/22/2005

Mental Wanderlust has posted her latest mammothesque news roundup from Central Asia and the former Soviet Union.

One story that didn’t make the cut in the round up was the Bishkek Bikers’ Sausage Eating Contest that KyrgyzInfo reported on, which provided alternative entertainment to Kurmanbek Bakiev’s inauguration festivities…

Also just through is information about a view of Central Asia that is not within the usual Great Game paradigm by Martin and Dina Spechler, both of Indiana University, entitled “Conflict and Cooperation in Central Asia after 9/11”, which is part of a new book published by Ashgate and edited by Ariel Cohen entitled “Eurasia in Balance”:

The US, Russia, and China have an interest in the area’s stability, to be sure, and in countering the flow of drugs, arms, and prostitutes. But the prime areas of their rivalry are elsewhere, and the incentives for cooperation among them are strong. The notion of a renewed “Great Game” in Central Asia is as anachronistic as is the idea of renewing the Great Silk Road as a transportation corridor linking China with Europe. Exploiting the residual rivalry of the great powers allows the Central Asian states to derive material benefits from their proximity to sensitive zones, such as Kashmir, Iran, and Afghanistan. As to economic problems and security within the region, the countries of the area will have to deal with their latent conflicts on their own, as they have, or apply cooperative arrangements which so far have been mostly rhetorical. This essay attempts to explain why.

It is well worth a read. For more information or copy of the paper, please email the authors directly.

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