Central Asia's Second Chance / Edition 1

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Central Asia's first decade of independence was disappointing for those who envisioned a transition from Soviet republics to independent states with market economies and democratic political systems. The region was given a "second chance" to address social and economic problems, but the Soviet-era leaders have been more interested in exploiting state resources and controlling their populations than in implementing democratic and regional reforms.

Central Asia, a critical battlefield in the war on terror, is vitally important and still unfamiliar even to many foreign policy specialists. Regional expert Martha Brill Olcott highlights the deep contradiction running through U.S. policy toward Central Asia. Partnerships with antidemocratic regimes have created long-term security risks and the international community has remained complicit in its lack of effective engagement. As recent events in Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan demonstrate, tensions in the region lie close to the surface: If we are to prevent these states from descending into chaos, the international community must identify solutions to the economic, political, and social challenges confronting them.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
September 11 and the attention it brought gave Central Asian regimes a "second chance," and so far, Olcott argues, both they and their Western partners have blown it. Central Asian leaders have not taken advantage of Western support or the security benefits of the Taliban's defeat. They have failed to abandon the drift toward authoritarianism by opening their political systems or to begin creating the transparency essential to economic progress. The United States in particular did not anticipate the longer-term risks of easing pressure for reform in the name of security cooperation, and Western economic aid has done little to promote regional economic integration. As a result, the future could well bring trouble and instability — when an old and rapacious set of leaders passes from the scene, or when those left out have had enough, or when change in one country prompts leaders in another to interfere. Between summary judgment and prediction, much of Olcott's book briskly surveys what is right and wrong, wise and unwise, in each of the five countries that make up Central Asia.
From the Publisher

"Dr. Martha Brill Olcott is one of America's leading experts on Central Asia, and her publications have done much to stimulate and engender American academic and policy interest in the field, especially after the Central Asian states became independent in 1991. She brings to this book years of firsthand experience, research, and travel throughout the area." —Stephen J. Blank, US Army War College, Parameters, 9/1/2006

"Olcott has established herself as one of the leading US experts on Central Asia

" — Journal of Peace Research

"Brill Olcott's volume provides a timely and valuable study of political and economic developments in the Central Asian states from the advent of independence in 1991 through to mid-2005. A leading US expert on the region, Brill Olcott brings a wealth of expertise and detail to her analysis, which is nonetheless accessible to the general reader." —Annette Bohr, Chatham House, International Affairs, 3/1/2006

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870032172
  • Publisher: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 389
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Martha Brill Olcott , selected by Washingtonian magazine for its list of "71 People the President Should Listen To" about the war on terrorism, is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace specializing in Central Asian and Caspian affairs. She has followed interethnic relations in Russia and the former Soviet states for more than thirty years and has traveled extensively throughout Central Asia. Olcott codirects the Carnegie Moscow Center Project on Religion, Society, and Security in the former Soviet Union.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Jessica T. Matthews
Abbreviations and Acronyms
1. After September 11, and Unexpected Chance
2. Central Asia: The First Ten Years of Independence 
3. The Geopolitics of Central Asia Prior to September 11
4. Meeting Social and Economic Burdens
5. Failures of Political Institution Buliding Create the Challenge of Succession
6. Changing Geopolitics: Less Has Changed than One Might Think  
7. What to Expect from the Future: Dealing with Common Problems

Appendix 1: Basic Information by Country
Appendix 2: Key Economic Indicators
Appendix 3: Key Social Indicators 
Appendix 4: Multilateral Assistance
Appendix 5: U.S. Government Assistance Before and After 9/11
Appendix 6: Freedom Support Act Funding: 1992-2003
Appendix 7: Economic Growth, 1990-2002
Appendix 8: Major Joint Venture Projects
Appendix 9: Energy Production
Appendix 10: Freedom House Democracy Indicators
Appendix 11: Combating the Flow of Drugs
Appendix 12: Key Political Parties
Appendix 13: Islamic Organizations
Appendix 14: Major Cities-Old and New Names
Selected Biography
About the Author
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Map of the Region (fold-out insert)

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