Central Asia’s Challenging Prospects for Regional Cooperation: External Advocacy and Local Inactivity

  •  Christian Ploberger    


While Central Asia is widely recognised as a region, we cannot identify an indigenous regional cooperation process. Whereas from an outside perspective, one may assume the existence of a strong regional cohesion, this is not the case when taking a view from within the region. So far, an indigenous Central Asia regional cooperation process is largely missing, even CAREC may provide a first attempt for an indigenous regional cooperation process. Instead, regional cooperation processes are based on great-power strategies, with Russia and China taking on prominent roles, though we can identify clear differences in their approaches as Russia’s EEU focuses on a closed economic sphere, whereas China’s BRI favours an open process. The implications are, that, for the foreseeable future, the likelihood that we can observe a process of regional cooperation, originating from within the region, is rather doubtful.

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