The Temptations of Tyranny in Central Asia

Overview

After the recent toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the important but overlooked ex-Soviet states of Central Asia-Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan-briefly became key players in the war on terror. Military and economic aid from America and other Western countries poured into the region on the assumption that stability and greater democratization would be the result. Only a few years later, however, the West's strategy to exert geopolitical influence in the region is in chaos ...

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Overview

After the recent toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the important but overlooked ex-Soviet states of Central Asia-Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan-briefly became key players in the war on terror. Military and economic aid from America and other Western countries poured into the region on the assumption that stability and greater democratization would be the result. Only a few years later, however, the West's strategy to exert geopolitical influence in the region is in chaos and autocracy seems to be as entrenched as ever.

David Lewis's provocative book investigates why the U.S. alliance with Uzbekistan failed to produce reform and instead ended with the massacre of hundreds of civilians in Andijan. It provides the first detailed account of the 2005 revolution in Kyrgyzstan, explores political transition in Turkmenistan following the death of its eccentric former leader, Saparmurat Niyazov, and examines the Islamic militant groups that are believed to be threatening stability in the Ferghana Basin.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

A good book that tells a terrible story of political and foreign policy failures... Recommended.

The Muslim World Book Review
This book offers a stock-taking of the history, evolution, and implications of the West's foreign policy towards Central Asian states.

— Najam Abbas

Michael Denison

David Lewis's firsthand experience of the region is evident from the text, which intersperses a well-paced narrative with anecdotal evidence. Lewis's deep understanding of the region is worn lightly, which makes the book both highly readable and informative.

The Muslim World Book Review - Najam Abbas

This book offers a stock-taking of the history, evolution, and implications of the West's foreign policy towards Central Asian states.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231700252
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 8/5/2008
  • Series: Columbia/Hurst Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David Lewis served as director of the International Crisis Group's Central Asia Project from 2001 to 2005. He is a long-term observer of politics in the former Soviet Union and obtained his Ph.D. in political science from the London School of Economics.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Central Asia rediscovered 1

1 The road to Andijan 11

2 The end of the affair : Andijan and its aftermath 51

3 The life and death of Turkmenbashi 77

4 Dabbling with democracy : Kyrgyzstan's uncertain revolution 119

5 State-building : the feudal approach 161

6 The Islamist challenge 183

7 Games people play : China, Russia, and the edges of American empire 209

Index 237

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