The US Economic Interests in Greater Central Asia: The Development Process and the Expected Future

Binqiao Chen, Robert Tian*, Medaille College

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Abstract The Greater Central Asia Region (GCAR) has been playing an important role in the trade between the East and West. In this paper, we will discuss the economic relationship between the United States and the GCAR. We will demonstrate the significances of economic connections between the two regions and analyze the economic situation and rationales that the GCAR keeps continuous and stable connection with the United States, in terms of both international and regional trading cooperation. We will also highlight the major strategic economic interests and the current economic policies of the United States. Finally, we will probe the problems that the United States needs to identify and solve.

Introduction Before the sixteenth century, the Greater Central Asia Region (GCAR) bridged Europe and East Asia as well as North and South Asia, becoming a location of religious, scientific, and cultural development of the Islamic world.1 By becoming part of Tsarist Russia in the mid 1700s and, after the Russian Revolution in 1917, part of the Soviet Union, the GCAR was greatly shut out from the rest of the world–only trading between the enclosed region and the Soviet Union. Because of the seventy years of Soviet rule that followed the Russian Revolution, the region’s economies became closely linked with one another, and international trading was scarce and almost non-existent. 

The Soviet Union’s economy was once considered to be the second largest in the world. However, the Soviet economy became sluggish when responding to change, adapting cost-saving technologies, and providing incentives at all levels to improve growth, productivity, and efficiency, which lead to its eventual dissolution after sixty-nine years of rule. In 1991, the Soviet Union was disintegrated, and five new countries in Central Asia were established: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. These five countries, as well as Xinjiang and Afghanistan, now constitute what is known as the GCAR, the Greater Central Asia Region.

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