FLASH MAY 25, 2015 | publicatii - Politica La Est

FLASH MAY 25, 2015

It is crystal-clear. This century is Asia’s moment in time. Europe was gradually replaced as a center of the world system  as a consequence of the incredible rise of China in the decades after 1980 and Asia climbed to eminence. But this reality does not mean that the power game within the system is finished.  There is an important part of Asia which will have an incredible importance for the development of this power struggle and perhaps will define the result of it. It is Central Asia , mainly or rather entirely ex-Soviet territory.
       The main great powers already involved in that new “great game” of 21st century in Central Asia are USA, China and Russia. How are they considering their own chances in that hard to believe dangerous game and which are their strategy to reach the projected targets?
       There is already some answer to these thrilling questions.
       For  China the strategy is already called as “the belt and the road “: “During an October 2013 visit to Kazakhstan, Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined his vision of a Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), and shortly after the concept of the so-called 21st Maritime Silk Road was presented by him in Jakarta. Together, this ‘One Belt, One Road’  (OBOR) will create trade corridors connecting East and Southeast Asia with most of the rest of Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. China’s vision includes transit via rail, road, air, sea and pipelines. Financing will come from China’s $40 billion Silk Road Fund, as well as new Chinese-led multilateral development institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Shanghai-based BRICS New Development Bank.” It is clear that China strategy is following the ‘roadmap’ destined to overcome the adversaries involved in the ‘great game’ in Asia: “ Part of the SREB vision is the creation of new institutions with a strong Chinese voice, like the AIIB, that could challenge existing U.S.-led alternatives. China has deployed massive diplomatic, military, academic, and business resources to support the realization of the SREB and this synergy of resources gives its vision the best likelihood of success. While the initial focus is economic, over the long term these developments could even pave the way for increased Chinese-led Asian security cooperation.
            For Russia , the vision in this regard “ concentrates on establishing a Russo-centric Eurasia as one pillar of a new multipolar world order, alongside the U.S.-led West and an anticipated Chinese-dominated Asia. Unlike the Chinese or American concepts of Eurasian integration, Russia’s approach is inward looking and protectionist . The foundation of the EEU /Eurasian Economic Union/ is a customs union, whose members have cut tariffs among themselves while raising them against non-members. The result has been growing dependence on Russia for the smaller EEU states, coupled with upheaval precipitated by the collapse of the ruble.”
            And for USA , the strategy targets “ emphasis on inclusive trade and transit integration, but also seeks to encourage market liberalization and political pluralism. The New Silk Road initiative, first unveiled by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a July 2011 speech in Chennai, was designed to turn postwar Afghanistan into a hub of commerce between Central and South Asia. However, the initiative was light on specifics, and has been short of political and financial support domestically and in Central and South Asia.”
       What about the future in this incredible complex environment which is dangerously approaching the clash between the three visions. “Prospects for all three visions are uncertain at this stage. Central Asia would be best served by the three powers looking for ways to make their respective visions mutually reinforcing, and responsive to the interests of the region, rather than using Central Asia as a playing field for their own strategic rivalries. “ Is everything ordained to end up in  open and hot wars ?  No, at least according to the analysis to which we ask the readers to follow: “Nonetheless, Beijing, Moscow and Washington have a common interest in a stable, prosperous Central Asia, whatever their disputes elsewhere. Cooperation among the major powers would also maximize the benefits for Central Asia itself, which would have multiple options for accessing global trading routes. Globalization has largely passed the region by, and for years the major powers have been too focused on security, and on the conflict in Afghanistan, to give Central Asia’s needs much consideration.”
See: Jeffrey Mankoff and Richard Ghiasy, Central Asia’s Future: Three Powers, Three Visions China, Russia and the U.S. each have visions to connect Central Asia with the rest of Eurasia. , in “ The Diplomat”, May 25, 2015-http://thediplomat.com/2015/05/central-asias-future-three-powers-three-visions/


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