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Between East and West – Contemporary Central Asia

Thursday, 11:30-13:00, 405

 

Participants

 

Great Power Rivalry in Central Asia Amid the Conditions of the Reset Policy

Analyses of Central Asia's relations with the great powers have generally focused on the East-West, and especially US-Russian rivalry for influence and access there.  This article attempts to do something different by focusing on Sino-Russian rivalry and the manifestations and impact of China's rising power as they make themselves felt in Central Asia.  Accordingly the authors examine not only U.S. policies but in particular emphasize both Russia's and China's recent politics in Central Asia through the summer of 2010 to capture the multi-dimensionality of the various rivalries among external actors, the instruments at their disposal, and the growing signs of China's increasingly strong position here.  This analysis covers economics and trade, investment, energy policies, and defense policies of these three major external players.

 

Islamic Foreign Policies in Central Asia: Discourses and Impacts

According to many observers of Central Asia, and especially according to the rhetoric of Central Asian governments, all that is dangerous and destabilizing about post-Soviet Islam in Central Asia is attributable to the negative impact of foreign influences.  Various foreign actors -- most notably Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but also others such as Turkey and Iran -- are seen as fostering radicalism by promoting foreign models of Islam, which may be seen as inherently radical (e.g., Wahhabism) or disruptive of the good balance between local traditional Islam and the secularism inherited from the Soviet Union.  This runs counter to other discourses that endorse good ties with other Muslim countries and emphasize that Central Asian Islamic traditions are part and parcel of an integrated Islamic world.  This paper will explore the question of whether foreign Muslim states are actually having the foreign policy effects that are attributed to them, whether it be to be to foment radicalism or promote salutary integration with the wider Muslim world.

 

Is "Wahhabism" a Scarecrow?

"Wahhabis" is the usual nickname of Islamic fundamentalists in the former Soviet Union. This paper seeks to rethink some of the established claims about the threat they pose to the post Soviet regimes