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THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF ASIAN RESEARCH NBR ANALYSIS VOLUME 14, NUMBER 4, November 2003 Regional Power Plays in the Caucasus and Central Asia Rethinking India’s and Pakistan’s Regional Intent Juli A. MacDonald Russia’s Response to U.S. Regional Influence Peter Rutland Central Asia’s Strategic Revolution Stephen J. Blank 185 163 209 [This page intentionally left blank.] Foreword This volume of the NBR Analysis is the second in a series that The National Bureau of Asian Research is publishing to highlight the urgent and persistent nature of the changed strategic security environment in the Caucasus and CentralAsia.The first volume explored how the eight countries in these two regions view their security situations, and analyzed the efforts of current political leaders to cope with military and economic risks to their national interests. In this second volume, we explore another dimension of strategic security in these volatile regions—how great and regional powers are shaping the new security framework, with the emergence of CentralAsia as a new theater of strategic significance. We offer essays from three distinguished analysts whose assessments illustrate just how fluid and complex the security environment looks in the Caucasus and CentralAsia at the start of the twenty-first century. Juli MacDonald, an analyst at Booz-Allen Hamilton, proposes a fundamentally new approach to interpreting India’s and Pakistan’s interests in these states. “Rethinking India’s and Pakistan’s Regional Intent” underscores the divergent trajectories witnessed as India and Pakistan shape their foreign policy toward CentralAsia. India refers to CentralAsia as “its extended strategic neighborhood” where New Delhi has the ability to counter China’s influence, unitewithIranonsharedinterests,andbalanceU.S.influence.MacDonaldpostulatesthatIndia has the potential to become a prominent regional actor with interests extending across Eurasia and points further west—in light of the three million strong Indian diaspora entrenched in the energy and service sectors of most Persian Gulf economies. In contrast, Pakistan is not positionedtoplayasignificant —or,veryimportantly,aconstructive—roleintheregionwithoutthe support of outside actors (such as China, the United States, or Al Qaeda). If acting alone, Pakistan is a fragile Islamic state that could pose more of a potential threat to the Caucasus’ and CentralAsia’s regional stability rather than behaving as a viable force for positive change. Peter Rutland, a professor at Wesleyan University specializing in the politics and economic policies of the former Soviet Union, presents a thought-provoking look at “Russia’s ResponsetoU.S.RegionalInfluence.”Heilluminatesthestarkdifferencesmarkingpoliciesin the period prior toVladimir Putin’s presidency, and in the years since 1999. Despite Moscow’s longstanding view that CentralAsia and the Caucasus states are part of the “near abroad” and within Russia’s sphere of vital national interests, Rutland explores evidence that President 161 Putin shows a preference for genuine multilateral cooperation with the United States, even if this entails support for increased U.S. activity throughout the Caspian region. The continued lack of cooperation among the former Soviet republics in addressing common threats to domestic security and economic stability continues to mar their newly-won sovereignty. Nonetheless , the author notes that Russia and the United States have found a way to accommodate their respective interests without jeopardizing the independence of these new states. Rutland’s essay raises critical issues about what motivates Putin’s foreign policy agenda, how the Russian President balances conflicting pressures from within Russia’s foreign policy bureaucracy, and to what extent a U.S. military presence in Russia’s “backyard” may influence Russia’s domestic political agenda. In the concluding essay, Stephen Blank, professor of Russian National Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S.Army War College, makes a compelling though controversialcasein“CentralAsia’sStrategicRevolution”thatafundamentalshiftintheregion’s strategic significance is underway. He observes that a genuine strategic intersection with the Middle East, SouthAsia, and EastAsia is currently occurring, and the implications for Central Asia’s longer-term impact on global stability need to be studied. Blank’s core argument compares the nature of Central Asia’s strategic transformation both prior to and following the attacks of September 11. He concludes that, in the aftermath of the attacks, the process of strategic transformation has accelerated and intensified, “to the point where it has become a strategic revolution whose consequences are only beginning to be discerned.”As CentralAsia enters its second decade of independence, there are extraordinary forces in play that may cause greater regional instability or, conversely, propel the states towards regional cooperation . Blank contends that the outcome depends on how the great powers choose to engage...


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