Foreign Policy Blogs

Wait, you missed one: The Western Checklist

Democracy? Check. Anti-terror? Check.Last week at Central Asian Voices, Martha Brill Olcott wrote that we have expected Central Asian Republics to assimilate Western concerns, but not the other way around.  In short, by grafting human rights concerns onto Realist theory, we made a checklist of activities we want Central Asian states to accomplish, but have ignored the prime domestic drivers of Central Asian affairs.

Dr. Olcott advocates looking more closely at local pressures and influences as much or more than foreign ones when viewing policy changes in Central Asian states.  In other words, looking at Russia, China, and Islam as the primary influences on Central Asian politics means that we may be missing the (domestic) point of many rulings and policy changes taking place within Central Asia.

In Uzbekistan, our general ignorance of domestic politics makes it quite difficult to predict the order of transition should Karimov bow out or lose power due to sanction regimes.  Therefore, Dr. Olcott does not advocate sanctions in Uzbekistan.

There is much more to her entry, and the general principles Dr. Olcott considers easily extend to diplomacy beyond Central Asia.

Another background paper by Professor Olcott: Revisiting the Twelve Myths of Central Asia (2001)

Check out the blogroll to the right for many more local-level insights on Central Asia.

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