By Stephen Blank
September 27, 2018, the CACI Analyst
Sri Lanka’s experience with China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a cautionary tale for governments in Eurasia that wish to affiliate with this mammoth project. Chinese investments in the port of Hambantota already in 2004 identified as part of China’s “string of pearls” strategy in the Indian Ocean. However, investments took the form of loans that the Sri Lankan government could not repay. After months of negotiation and heavy pressure, the Sri Lankan government turned the port, including all its structures and capacities, plus 15,000 acres around it to China in late 2017.
By Sudha Ramachandran
September 7, 2017, the CACI Analyst
With its shuttle diplomacy between Pakistan and Afghanistan to ease tensions between the two neighbors, China has expanded its peacemaking role in the Afghan conflict. Successful peacemaking is vital for ensuring stability in the region, which in turn is needed to secure the future of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It will require Beijing to move beyond offering Kabul and Islamabad economic incentives to address the core issue underlying Afghanistan-Pakistan estrangement: alleged support to acts of terror directed against each other. Given its own strong interests in undertaking peacemaking, can China be an honest broker?
By Fariz Ismailzade
September 6, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The recent visit of Turkmenistan’s President to Azerbaijan opens a new chapter in bilateral relations and creates a solid foundation for the expansive development of energy and transport projects in the Caspian region. The two countries play a key role in the East-West transport corridor in the greater Eurasia. Both countries hold significant carbohydrate resources. Political dialogue and strong partnership between these Turkic countries can transform the economic and geopolitical map of the region.
By Richard Weitz
August 3, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The June Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana marked the SCO’s first membership expansion since its creation in 2001. By finally ending this logjam, the SCO has raised expectations of continued enlargement and increased geopolitical weight. However, major obstacles to further growth persist; meanwhile, more members deepen the mutual tensions and rivalries within the institution.
By Michael Clarke
July 20, 2017, the CACI Analyst
President Xi Jinping’s ambitious “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) seeks to make China the hub of trans-Eurasian economic connectivity by linking the Chinese economy with the major continental and maritime zones of the Eurasian continent through both physical and financial infrastructure. President Xi has proclaimed that BRI will “benefit people across the whole world” as it will be based on the “Silk Road spirit” of “peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness”. This rhetoric may be enhancing Beijing’s diplomatic position but it is one that rings hollow in China’s own Eurasian frontiers such as Xinjiang where BRI is coinciding with the imposition of new forms of political and social control.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.