Central Asia without the West? Policy Paper 1

Central Asia Institute for Strategic Studies jointly with the NESA Center for Strategic Studies, UA: Ukraine Analytica and the OSCE Academy in Bishkek introduces its series of 2018 policy papers. Policy Paper 1, edited by Anna Gussarova, is devoted to the concept of the ‘West’, its impact on regional and national priorities of the Central Asia states, what  the region might lose or gain without the West, and how other actors can change their agenda and narratives in the region, are they ready to step in and will they benefit without the US or not.

‘Central Asia without the West’ is a result of a brainstorming and simulation that took place at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) during the 2018 Central Asia Working Group, Strategic Studies Network meeting, which include a team of experts from Central Asia, the United States, Ukraine, India and Hong Kong.

The exercise, hypothetical in nature, is an attempt to assess the value of the ‘West’, in particular what the West does for, and mean to Central Asia, and what is “missing” without the Western involvement.

The proposition “Central Asia without the West?” is, to be noted, a question rather than a statement of fact. In reality, for better or worse (depending on one’s stance), Central Asia will probably never in near future be left  without any Western engagement. For the development of democratic societies and good governance, strong market-based economy and  an independent civil society, it is positive factor that the West will most probably engage Central Asia long into the future.

That being said, the question posed, “Central Asia without the West?” raises at least two more additional questions. One is more of a backward-looking evaluative question: “What would be lost if the West were to stop engaging Central Asia?” The second is a more forward-looking and practical question: “What are the options and alternatives to the Western role in Central Asia going forward, were the West to disengage?

Read the full paper CA without the West.

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