Global Security Watch -- Central Asia

Global Security Watch -- Central Asia

Global Security Watch -- Central Asia

Global Security Watch -- Central Asia

Synopsis

Global Security Watch-Central Asia is the first authoritative examination of the security issues affecting, and affected by, the region where Russia, South Asia, China, and the Middle East meet. The author provides a comprehensive account of the strategic importance and challenges facing Central Asia written for policymakers, students, researchers, and interested general readers alike.

Global Security Watch-Central Asia goes behind the scenes to explore both the internal factors and global influences affecting the stability of region and the nations that comprise it. Coverage includes the dynamics of each country's domestic politics, the allure of the region's natural resources, Central Asia's role in U.S./Russian relations, and the renewed focus on the region in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Excerpt

Until quite recently, Central Asia was a region far removed from the attention of most Americans and, for that matter, most of those who consider themselves to be citizens of the West. The exotic and difficult names of the countries in the region; its geographic remoteness from North America, Australia, and Japan; and the lack of historical, cultural, and economic linkages with the Western world all combined to make this cluster of countries one of the least studied realms in the geography and area studies programs established after World War II in many universities in the United States and Europe. Even scholars and policymakers in Great Britain, who a century ago viewed Central Asia as a vital buffer between colonial holdings in South Asia and the Russian Empire, lost interest for much of the twentieth century. But in the wake of the collapse of the USSR and the subsequent terror attacks in the United States in 2001, Central Asia reappeared both physically and figuratively on the world’s geopolitical map, a status officially confirmed by the creation of the Central and South Asia section at the U.S. Department of State in 2006. All of this new attention is good, because the five “stans” of Central Asia face many challenges to their stability, security, and development, and without the assistance and involvement of international partners they have little chance of solving most of these problems. Having spent a good deal of my life studying the area, this volume is a modest attempt to contribute to understanding the security issues there, but also to hopefully encourage others to examine the region and offer their own perspectives.

I am grateful to all those who have contributed to my understanding of Central Asia. Over the past 25 years, as I have studied Central Asia I have been fortunate to receive the consistent support of many friends, family members, and colleagues. Most of these individuals must remain nameless, but they all contributed indirectly, in ways both large and small, to the writing of this volume.

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