Galyna Mingazutdinova, PhD (History), Historian of the Science and Research Department (History Department, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv)
In late 1990s – early 2000s, the post-Soviet countries of Central Asia became an arena of specific geopolitical standoff, also known as The New Great Game. The vanishing of the USSR from the political map resulted in the emergence of the newly independent states and of the new external powers interested in occupying the niche of the bygone superpower. To counter the United States’ presence in the region, a number of potential competitors rose. Among them, China, Russia, Turkey and Iran shall be named. While the USA promoted their foreign policy towards Central Asia proceeding from the contemporary history, their respective opponents, namely Iran, had a huge historical background to justify its relations with Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. However, the existence of shared historical heritage had few in common with the actual geopolitical success in the region. Firstly, the Central Asian countries themselves decided to keep to the multilateral foreign policy and receiving any kind of assistance from the external partners to promote themselves on the international arena without taking any heritage background into consideration. Secondly, external financial and military assistance governed the issue of who may dominate in Central Asia. Thirdly, the general geopolitical interests of the great powers in Central Asia happened to be deeply interrelated and claimed more for cooperation that to competition to implement them. To this end, a mixture of joint and opposed actions taken by the superpowers in Central Asia proved to be inevitable.
USA, Central Asia, Iran, Middle East, cooperation
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