Asserting Statehood: Kazakhstan’s Role in International Organizations
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has developed a record of being the most proactive and innovative former Soviet republic in the sphere of international cooperation. Kazakhstan’s multilateral relations have always expressed a clear logic: to establish itself as a reliable and constructive international actor. The core of this strategy has been to create several foreign policy pillars – Russia, China, the U.S., the EU, Turkey – without prioritizing one too heavily over the other.
However, in recent years the Russian pillar has expanded heavily, thus compromising the delicate balance of Kazakhstan’s multi-vector foreign policy. To counter this tendency, Astana has been seeking alternative external partners and avenues more persistently than ever – over the past two years, Kazakhstan has joined the World Trade Organization, obtained a seat at the Asia-Europe Meeting, signed an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union, announced it would host the EXPO-2017 in Astana, and launched a bid for a rotating seat at the United Nations Security Council.
This paper argues that Kazakhstan’s success in maintaining a balanced foreign policy – and in the process keeping the heart of Eurasia open – will depend on the existence of partners willing to engage with the region. It is in the West’s interests to support Kazakhstan’s efforts to maintain balance, in particular in the light of an increasingly polarized and unfavorable geopolitical context in Central Asia.
The EU and Central Asia: Expanding Economic Cooperation, Trade, and Investment
Since the independence of the Central Asian states, this landlocked region has taken time to reconnect with the world, including Europe. Twenty-five years ago, many underestimated the diverse challenges – infrastructural, economic, political – that impeded the region’s trade and connectivity with the rest of the world. Yet as trade statistics show, much has been accomplished in a quarter century.
The European Union’s Political and Security Engagement with Central Asia: How to Move Forward
Despite an ambitious set of policy initiatives for Central Asia, the EU is punching below its weight in a region where Russia and China are far more influential. Ten years after the EU launched a strategy for Central Asia, the EU is still facing substantial challenges in implementing its strategy successfully.
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The Fallacy of ‘Compartmentalisation’: the West and Russia from Ukraine to Syria
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