Central Asia

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The five former Soviet republics that constitute Central Asia—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—are ethnically, politically, and economically diverse countries with rich histories. Together and separately, they face and pose a range of challenges and opportunities as they define their relationships with neighbors such as China, Russia, and Afghanistan and partner countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. RAND research has explored important aspects of regional policy, including its economic development, security environment, human rights practices, and political stability.

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    Project

    The RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy

    Feb 8, 2010

    The RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy (CAPP) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, multidisciplinary research center within RAND. CAPP's mission is to improve policy by providing decision-makers and the public with rigorous, objective, cutting-edge research on critical policy challenges facing Asia and U.S.-Asia relations.

Explore Central Asia

  • Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev meets with U.S. President Barack Obama during a nuclear security summit in April 2010

    Commentary

    Celebrating the Success of Project Sapphire

    Twenty years ago this week, the United States transported over 600 kilograms of at-risk, weapons-usable highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Kazakhstan to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for safekeeping. Kazakhstan had the courage to trust its new relationship with the U.S. to help prevent the proliferation of dangerous material to countries that might seek to build nuclear weapons.

    Nov 21, 2014

  • Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands before the opening ceremony of the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia summit in Shanghai May 21, 2014

    Report

    China's Strategy Toward South and Central Asia

    China's response to the complex challenges on its western borders during the past two decades has been to adopt an "Empty Fortress" strategy, whereby China boldly projects an image of considerable strength in Central and South Asia to mask serious frailty. China is not a major threat to U.S. interests there and is unlikely to pose one in the near future.

    Aug 11, 2014

  • A Chinese contractor at the site of the Nairobi-Thika highway project

    Commentary

    The Strategy Behind China's Aid Expansion

    Between 2001 and 2011, China's pledged foreign aid was $671 billion. In all regions and countries, China's assistance focuses on the development of natural resources, principally energy-related (coal, oil, and gas). Both parties presumably benefit from China's aid but both are also exposed to added risks and hidden costs.

    Oct 9, 2013

  • Labourers work at a railway station construction site in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa

    Blog

    New RAND Study Examines Chinese Economic Assistance to Other Countries

    With the world's second largest economy, China has the capacity to engage in substantial programs of economic assistance and government-sponsored investments in 93 emerging-market countries.

    Sep 19, 2013

  • chinese_tractors_278937056_f492a8c408_b

    Report

    China's Foreign Aid and Government-Sponsored Investment Activities: Scale, Content, Destinations, and Implications

    With the world's second largest economy, China has the capacity to engage in substantial programs of economic assistance and government-sponsored investments. Researchers assessed the scale, trends, and composition of these programs in 93 emerging-market countries.

    Sep 18, 2013

  • Commentary

    America and India: Growing Partners in Afghanistan

    A comprehensive Indian military training effort in Afghanistan would balance Pakistan's own involvement in the country, build upon a decade of American achievements in fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and contribute to peace and security in the region, write Larry Hanauer and Peter Chalk.

    Aug 10, 2012

  • News Release

    United States Should Encourage India to Take a Greater Role in Afghanistan

    India and Pakistan each have a stake in influencing developments in Afghanistan and both countries engage in Afghanistan to advance their own respective geopolitical, defense, and economic objectives. However, India has far more to offer.

    Aug 8, 2012

  • Report

    United States Should Encourage India to Take a Greater Role in Afghanistan

    India and Pakistan each have a stake in influencing developments in Afghanistan and both countries engage in Afghanistan to advance their own respective geopolitical, defense, and economic objectives. However, India has far more to offer.

    Aug 8, 2012

  • Report

    U.S. Air Force Engagement with Turkey on Energy Security Looks Promising

    Turkey aspires to become a key transit state for moving both natural gas and oil from the Caspian region and from the broader Middle East via pipelines crossing its territory. U.S.-Turkish cooperation on energy security issues offers a promising yet modest opportunity to strengthen the bilateral relationship.

    Jun 18, 2012

  • Commentary

    Our Man in Kabul

    Now that Karzai has been declared the election's winner, the breach with Abdullah—the man most responsible for his original rise to power—could have very dangerous consequences. The last thing Karzai, NATO, and the United States can afford is the emergence of a renewed northern alliance, writes James Dobbins.

    Nov 4, 2009

  • News Release

    Andrew Weiss Named to Lead RAND Business Leaders Forum, Center for Russia and Eurasia

    Former government and business leader Andrew Weiss has been named executive director of the RAND Business Leaders Forum and the director of the RAND Center for Russia and Eurasia, RAND Corporation President and CEO James A. Thomson announced today.

    Apr 9, 2009

  • Journal Article

    Tajikistan: The Rise of a Narco-State

    This article argues that since the mid-1990s Tajikistan has become a narco-state, in which leaders of the most powerful trafficking groups occupy high-ranking government positions and misuse state structures for their own illicit businesses.

    Oct 1, 2007

  • Commentary

    C. Asia's Great Game

    Published commentary by RAND staff: C. Asia's Great Game, in United Press International.

    Mar 5, 2007

  • Commentary

    Central Asia's Other 'Turkmenbashis'

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Central Asia's Other 'Turkmenbashis', in Project Syndicate--an association that distributes commentaries to 291 newspapers in 115 countries.

    Jan 15, 2007

  • News Release

    RAND Evaluates Efforts to Improve Effectiveness and Human Rights Performance of Internal Security Forces in 4 Nations

    January 3, 2007 News Release: RAND Evaluates Efforts to Improve Effectiveness and Human Rights Performance of Internal Security Forces in 4 Nations.

    Jan 3, 2007

  • Report

    Central Asian Development Is a Long-Term Security Concern

    To prevent deteriorating economic, political, and social conditions in Central Asia from fostering regional instability and conflict, the United States should encourage the nature and pace of political and economic reform.

    Dec 13, 2006

  • Report

    Securing Tyrants or Fostering Reform?

    U.S. efforts to improve the effectiveness and human rights performance of internal security forces have been partially successful in Afghanistan and El Salvador, but far less successful in Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

    Nov 7, 2006

  • Research Brief

    Economic Development in Central Asia is a Long-Term Security Concern

    This research brief assesses the economic dimensions of security in post-Soviet Central Asia and considers their implications for the role of the United States.

    Jul 27, 2006

  • Research Brief

    Asian Countries Are Divided About U.S. Security Intentions in Central Asia

    This research brief highlights the nature of Asian states' interests and influence in Central Asia, as well as their interpretations of U.S. intentions in the region, as a starting point for shaping future U.S. policy in Central Asia.

    Jun 6, 2006

  • Report

    Asian Countries Divided About U.S. Security Intentions in Central Asia

    Several Asian states are key to Central Asia's security and economic environment, and their actions will also affect U.S. interests in the region. Although some of these states fear the U.S. military presence in the region, others appreciate its strong role in promoting stability.

    May 1, 2006