US policymakers should be proud of US-sponsored programs which broaden the range of participation for even limited numbers of people. But those of us engaged with Central Asia should not delude ourselves into believing that through "soft needling" we will get the ruling elites in these countries to modify the core practices at the heart of their regimes.
State-sponsored terror persists because the international community is either silent in the face of it, or restricts its condemnations to actions that are of little or no consequence to the offending party.
The systematic terrorization of the elite - the arrest of scores of people who have experience in running the government and the economy, the terrorization of their families, the push into exile and silence of dozens of other people has enormous consequences for the capacity of a state as small as Turkmenistan to govern itself.
Major impediments to a unified energy strategy do not come from Russia. The dynamics of interstate relations between Russia, Caspian, and other transit states, and domestic politics in any of these states, decrease the likelihood of any singular, meaningful international energy development strategy.
A Discussion With Mr. Boris Sheikmuradov, Chaired by Carnegie Senior Associate Martha Brill Olcott
The five states of Central Asia raise fundamental questions about the process of democratization in post-Soviet states and in the Muslim world more generally. In light of recent developments, the expectation of remaining as part of the region's Soviet heritage must now be incorporated with both nationalist and Islamic agendas that exist in Central Asia in order for democracy to have a chance.
The challenges of consolidating statehood which lie before the states of Central Asia and the Caucasus in the immediate future,are likely to be shaped by the peculiarities of the relationships of these states to Russia, and what strategic consequence this might have from the US.
Improving security measures alone will not solve the problems in the Caspian region and the role of the US in this process is a limited one. The countries of the region must add to the number of stakeholders in their countries to begin this reform.