Cooperation from Outside: Security Regionalism in Central Asia and Its Limits

In: Central Asian Affairs
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  • 1 DAAD Associate Professor of International Relations, Head Centre for Research & Graduate Education, Kazakh-German University363817AlmatyKazakhstan
  • | 2 Associated Researcher InIIS, University of BremenBremenGermany
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The degree of institutionalized cooperation on security among three or more of the five Central Asian states remains moderate. Currently, regional security is nurtured in part via frameworks provided by external state and nonstate partners. A rational institutionalist perspective has been invoked, suggesting demand for regional security cooperation. This view also insinuates that it would be reasonable for these five states, because of their limited resources, to rely largely on external cooperation partners instead of being self-organized. This article discusses additional causal factors possibly responsible for the low degree of regionalism. Given varying foreign policy preferences and Kazakhstan’s consistent backing of far-reaching security regionalism, the argument that autocracies generally refrain from deep security cooperation cannot be sustained, nor does the sea change in Uzbekistan’s foreign policy in 2016, which could serve to nurture security regionalism in the future, align well with this argument.

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