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Analysis | October 03, 2019

China and Russia in Central Asia: A Tricky Balance

This fall, Central Asia’s richest country was shaken yet again, on at least two separate occasions, by anti-government protests with decidedly anti-Chinese sentiments. Local unease with Beijing’s intentions and investments—which have ballooned to tens of billions of dollars throughout the region—has become easy to exploit for “the mischievous and hot-headed,” as a veteran Central Asia reporter wrote after the protests. It’s no wonder then that China’s role in the region, alongside Russia and other world powers, was a popular topic of discussion at a recent conference held by PONARS-Eurasia, a global network of scholars who convene once a year in Washington, D.C. Among the points that resonated most were that Central Asians’ perceptions of China are complicated, that Western countries have a role to play in Central Asia despite their limited presence in the region and that, whatever tensions Central Asia may cause in the Russia-China relationship, ties between the two countries are generally close and durable enough to withstand them. (The presentations described in sections one and three below can be viewed here.)
Analysis | October 01, 2019

Fearing and Ignoring Russia: A Recipe for Trouble

Historian Mark Smith’s provocative book won’t give the U.S. a policy to manage its relationship with Russia, but it does offer some valuable guidance in thinking about strategic solutions.
Analysis | September 26, 2019

John Mearsheimer on Russia: Insights and Recommendations

When Americans find their domestic politics the target of foreign interference, "they become deeply committed to the principle of self-determination." Not surprisingly, writes leading American international relations scholar John Mearsheimer, "so do the Russians."