The Security Environment of Central Asia
1st Edition Year: 1999
Edition: First edition
The global attention that has focused on the energy resources of Central Asia has tended to obscure the real security issues affecting this vital region. According to this analysis, the eight new states to the east and west of the Caspian Sea face major challenges as fledgling sovereignties seeking to carve new national identities and sustain their legitimacy as they shed their legacy as former Soviet states. The involvement of diverse nations in the exploitation and export of Caspian oil offers the best hope of stability in the region, although the fear that a single external power might gain monopolistic control over these coveted resources is an issue of major concern. Any economic or social breakdown in the region is likely to create a dangerous power vacuum, since the states are surrounded by three current nuclear powers and another aspiring nuclear power. These Central Asian states share several characteristics with the Gulf states and like them are exploring avenues for intra-regional cooperation and integration. The Gulf states are therefore poised to play a unique role in the development of the strategic Central Asian region with which its destinies have historically been linked.
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