Security Environment in Central Asia

Security Environment in Central Asia

  • 16 March 1999

Many forces threaten the new states of Central Asia and the Caucasus. Internationally, they are surrounded by major regional and global powers, three of them armed with nuclear weapons, one a NATO member, and one being the former colonial overlord of the region.

On the domestic front, they face the complex impact of new oil and gas wealth, conflicts over the use of scarce water resources, inequalities in the distribution of income, population growth, ethnic tensions, rapid urbanization, religious/secularist conflicts, corruption, and narcotics traffic.

Any successful security regime in Central Asia and the Caucasus must enhance the security of the Central Asian Caucasus states themselves and of the region’s immediate neighbors, i.e., China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. Moreover, it must accomplish these tasks in a manner acceptable to major investor powers further afield, i.e., Europe, Japan and the United States.

The best means of achieving this is to strengthen the sovereignty and viability of the new states themselves, rather than permit any single external power to exercise hegemonic control there, and to foster the ability of these states to work collaboratively with each other end with neighbors in every direction. This in turn requires the powerful states surrounding Central Asia and the Caucasus to respect the new sovereignties and to exercise restraint in their involvement in the region.

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Tuesday 16 March 1999

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Tuesday 16 March 1999

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