Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev addressed the Astana Club, during its Nov. 13, 2017, third annual meeting
The third annual gathering of the “Astana Club” was held in Astana the capital city of Kyrgyzstan on 13 and 14 November 2017 with the attendance of more than 60 scientific, political, and research personalities (people who influence decision making and decision taking) from 27 countries. The following four important and key topics were prominent among the multitude of subjects raised at this third gathering of the Astana Club:
1. Arguably, the future of the Chinese Project “One Belt, One Way in the Region” attracted the greatest interest among those attending the gathering who tried to somehow get a correct idea of the future of this Project and of the economic and political effects its implementation would have in Eurasia. There were two camps among the attendants: one expressed its views in support of the Project and the other in opposition to it. Although both camps agreed that implementation of the Project could have far-reaching effects on the geopolitical and geoeconomic changes in the region, yet one thought that it would develop the region whereas the other (the opponents) believed that the political objectives of the Chinese Project were not clear, total ambiguity surrounded it, and its implementation could distance the Eurasian countries from other world markets.
2. Many questions were raised, without receiving clear answers, about the ambiguity of the American strategy in Eurasia. However, it was generally emphasized that the United States had a balancing role and tried to prevent the establishment of hegemony in the region. Put more clearly, the American policy was to confront Russian or Chinese hegemony.
3. One of the important discussions in the gathering concerned Russian policies in Eurasia. In these discussions, the American and European participants attacked Russian policies in Ukraine, considered them a blatant violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of an independent country, and supported the sanctions placed on Russia by the United States and Europe, and believed that Russia had aggressive policies in a part of Eurasia. However, at the same time, when it came to Russian policies in Central Asia, especially concerning the relations between Russia and Kazakhstan, they somehow evaded the issue and considered it within the realm of decision-making competencies of the Central Asian Countries.
4. One of the sessions of the gathering was devoted to the introduction of Kazakhstan’s policies and its economic, social, political, and international programs. The Kazakhstan authorities explained the policies and programs of this country and answered the questions that were asked. In this session, modernization of technologies, of political processes, and of public opinion was explained as the three main development priorities for Kazakhstan.
I think that it is necessary to conclude this note by also answering an initial question: where is Eurasia and what does the “Greater Eurasia” mean? The first question raised in this gathering concerned the definition of Eurasia and specification of its geographical area. Different definitions were offered but there was no general consensus on any of them, and none of the definitions could be considered a comprehensive one that included the geographical delineation of the region. Nevertheless, in general, there was this understanding that Eurasia and the Greater Eurasia was a region that included all the States in the former Soviet Union plus Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, and parts of western China.
© Khabar Online
Rasoul Mousavi, an Iranian distinguished career diplomat, is the senior fellow at IRAS.
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