Inter-State Cooperation in Central Asia from the CIS to the Shanghai Forum

Gregory Gleason
2001 Europe-Asia Studies  
ONE WELL RECOGNISED TENDENCY of the dynamics of independence is that newly emergent states seek to increase their security and improve their trade positions through adopting policies that tend to reinforce the 'hard shell' of the modern nation-state. The former Soviet states, 'born sovereign' as a result of the rapid and sweeping disintegration of the political and economic ties of the Soviet period, have moved swiftly over the past decade to establish institutions of national policy, create or
more » ... l policy, create or restore state-centric national identity, and develop foreign policies to pursue their newly formed national security and trade interests. Over the rst decade of independence, many of the newly emergent states have discovered that cooperation with their neighbours, even those having like interests and similar goals, was not always easily attainable. Parallel interests, as they have discovered, do not necessarily imply cooperative behaviour. 1 Many of the states found that as a result of their sudden independence they were in a situation in which they were linked in mutual endeavours in pursuit of common security and economic goals in such a way that the more energetically they pursued those goals, the more likely they were to come into con ict with one another. In a world in which the processes of globalisation so clearly reward those states that conform to international norms and punish those that do not, the adoption of cooperative policies is at a premium. The arrangements of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have, by general acknowledgement, not fully realised the goals of promoting regional Eurasian cooperation. Given the shortcomings of the CIS, over the past decade the Central Asian states have repeatedly made efforts at policy correctives with the intention of creating a new foundation for post-independence inter-state cooperation. More recently, outbreaks of insurgency and terrorism have created a region-wide sense of alarm that has, in turn, contributed to a renewed sense of urgency to nd formulas to enhance cooperation in the region. The unsatisfactory record of inter-state cooperation in Central Asia over the past decade raises both theoretical and practical questions. What are the principal dimensions of interstate con ict and cooperation in Central Asia? What policy correctives and new institutional arrangements offer a prospect of inclining the Central Asian states toward greater cooperative problem solving on a regional level? Given the experiences of this rst decade, how should we assess the prospects of success for
doi:10.1080/09668130120085047 fatcat:olkd36dg7jgidojrlbhwzipdui