Flashman's Revenge: Central Asia after September 11

By Rumer, Eugene B. | Strategic Forum, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Flashman's Revenge: Central Asia after September 11


Rumer, Eugene B., Strategic Forum


Key Points

The September 11 terrorist attacks have altered the geopolitical dynamics in Central Asia. The United States has emerged as the preeminent power in the region, causing other countries with interests in Central Asia to adjust to radically changed circumstances.

The war on terrorism and increasing instability in South and Southwest Asia call for a long-term U.S. military presence in Central Asia. Such a presence could also complement ongoing U.S. diplomatic relationships in the region.

In the long run, U.S. influence in the region will have to contend with the residual advantages that Russia, China, and Iran have by virtue of their geographic proximity, cultural ties, and trading patterns. The American ability to promote the security and stability of Central Asia will depend on the cooperation of and perhaps partnership with one or more of these states.

Central Asia will have to contend with poor governance, widespread corruption, and authoritarian regimes, with all the ensuing consequences for U.S. efforts to promote economic and political modernization. Balancing short-term stability against considerations of long-term political and economic reform will further complicate these efforts. The roles of partner, security manager, and advocate of reform are not easily reconciled in Central Asia. Still, the events of September 11 have left the United States with no alternative but to address these issues.

**********

The terrorist attacks of September 11 swept away much of the uncertainty about Central Asia's importance to the international system and its relationship with the major powers, especially the United States. Indeed, the five states of the region--Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan--have become among the most important frontline states in America's war on terrorism. But the war did not alter many basic long-term trends in the region that will complicate U.S. activities as well as color Central Asian perceptions of the United States. Beyond the immediate demands of the war on terrorism, many fundamental questions remain unanswered: How important is Central Asia to the United States? What is the nature of U.S. interest in the region? What role should the United States play in Central Asia: security manager, hegemon, limited partner?

Defining the right role for the United States in Central Asia is no easy task. The region is geographically remote, unknown to much of the American public, and not easily accessible. It has few evident connections to the United States. U.S. interests in Central Asia--beyond the most basic ones such as peace, stability, and alleviation of human suffering, as well as those associated with terrorism--are not easy to identify in ways that the American people and their leaders would readily embrace. Moreover, the early record of U.S. engagement in Central Asia immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union and through the 1990s was not a positive one, resulting in mutual disappointments in Washington and the Central Asian capitals. That record offers important lessons that will be considered below.

A History of Ambivalence

The events of September 11 and the onset of the U.S. campaign against terrorism have produced new winners and losers in and around Central Asia. The region itself has been the big winner; the world has focused attention on it to a degree unimaginable in the 1990s. The reason the world cares is different now than in the early 1990s, when Central Asia had nuclear weapons left over from the Soviet Union, or in the mid-1990s, when oil and gas were of great interest, or in the late 1990s, when nongovernmental organizations were campaigning for human rights. The world cares about Central Asia now for two reasons: its proximity to the South Asian tinderbox and the belated realization by Western political establishments that state failure anywhere in post-Soviet Central Asia carries significant risks for the West in its efforts to root out al Qaeda-style terrorist networks. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Flashman's Revenge: Central Asia after September 11
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.