Central Asia

Northern Afghanistan and the New Threat to Central Asia

The contest for control of northern Afghanistan between the Taliban, the Islamic State, and other terrorist groups is a major security concern for the states of Central Asia. Since the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,...

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Ukraine War Sparks Suspicion over Russia’s Designs on Kazakhstan

For all its years of independence, Kazakhstan has worried about Russian irredentist dreams of Kazakh territory. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, such concerns seem well-founded. They have heard such threats coming from Russian officials and some Russians in Kazakhstan...

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China’s Security Management Towards Central Asia

    Executive Summary  In the early years of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and Central Asian countries (roughly 1992-1999), bilateral security discussions strictly focused on the then-looming influence of a Uyghur-led independence movement in Xinjiang....

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Understanding Central Asia’s Cautious Approach to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

The governments in Central Asia are treading cautiously in their remarks about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Central Asia, too, was part of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, and, when some in Central Asia see the news from Ukraine,...

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How the Intervention in Kazakhstan Revitalized the Russian-led CSTO

  Executive Summary The Russian Federation-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has existed for nearly 30 years, and, during all that time, it had never sent troops into a conflict zone in one of its members states. CSTO members...

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Kazakhstan’s System Malfunctions

It may be a cliché, but Kazakhstan’s ongoing dramatic crisis recalls one of Lenin’s most famous quotes, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Kazakhstan has for many years seen neither political change...

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A ‘Bright Path’ Forward or a Grim Dead End? The Political Impact of the Belt and Road Initiative in Kazakhstan

  Executive Summary This report assesses the political impact of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Kazakhstan. Specifically, it examines whether and how the People’s Republic of China can pursue a strategy of economic statecraft to further its...

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Forceful Displays and Soft Rhetoric: Central Asia’s Response to Developments in Afghanistan

The swift fall of the Afghan government and Taliban takeover over the past few weeks poses challenges for the countries to the north. Central Asian governments desire a stable and secure government in Afghanistan that can prevent the spillover...

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Does the Biden Administration Have a Eurasia Policy?

In the six months since President Joseph Biden assumed office, the White House has sought to re-assert a set of coherent policies for approaching key U.S. interests in Eurasia: supporting nascent democracies and democratic movements; containing Russia’s nuclear and...

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Chinese Business in Central Asia: How Crony Capitalism is Eroding Justice

China’s economic influence in Central Asia has gained a new character after President Xi Jinping came to power. In almost all economic activities there is a growing Chinese presence, and these actors range from large multinational firms to small...

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