Regional Security and the Future of Central Asia: The Competition of Iran, Turkey, and Russia

By Hooman Peimani | Go to book overview
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INTRODUCTION

The breakup of the Soviet Union not only marked the end of an empire and the failure of its guiding ideology to fulfil its promises, it also signified the final crumbling of the bipolar international system, which had lasted for about half a century. The first cracks in the bipolar structure in the 1960s paved the way for the reemergence of regionalism. Under different pretexts and for different objectives, this phenomenon has expanded to many regions of the world over the last thirty years. The fall of bipolarity has further encouraged this process as it removed the last structural barriers to the emergence of regional powers, who are dissatisfied with their role in international relations and feel strong enough to challenge the major powers over spheres of influence. In the absence of strong superpowers capable of imposing their political, economic, and military/security arrangements on their allies and satellites, the rising multipolar international system paves the way for the expansion of regionalism, which fills the vacuum of power in different parts of the world.

Among other factors, the rise of regional blocs is an indicator of the aspiration of the states of certain regions to detach themselves from the political, economic, and military/security arrangements of world powers; it reflects their desire for independence. However, the rise of regional groupings does not necessarily lead to independence, as new powers or rising powers, inside or outside these groupings, might try to dominate those regions. The temptation might be too strong for them to resist, especially when the states of a target region are vulnerable because of their economic, political, or military weaknesses. The situation might become even more complicated as the old dominant powers might also seek to restore

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