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"Iran and the Eurasian Transport Initiatives: Short-term Challenges, Long-term Opportunities" by Hamidreza Azizi

By Editor CI

views: 132

Jan 4, 2019 - 5:17 PM

Being at the junction of several major geopolitical regions, i.e., the Middle East, the South Caucasus, Central Asia, and South Asia, along with access to the high seas of the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea, has long created a special geopolitical status for Iran. Accordingly, throughout the course of history Iran has always been at the center of east–west and north–south trade routes. Considering this critical characteristic, reviving Iran's position in the sphere of international transit and transport is now being taken into account by the Iranian leaders as a serious option for guaranteeing the country’s economic growth and development. This article tries to study the place of Iran in two important Eurasian transport initiatives, namely the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC). The article shows that, despite the priority of economic objectives, Iran's approach to this issue encompasses a wide range of economic, diplomatic, and geopolitical goals. The success of these two initiatives with the participation of Iran could also bear significant positive implications for the countries of the South Caucasus. Read more...

Commentary: "Georgia Before the Presidential Elections: The General Overview" by Aleksandre Kvakhadze

By Editor CI

views: 98

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:22 PM

The present paper aims to provide an overview of the pre-election political landscape in Georgia and illustrate recent developments and their interconnection with each other. The paper will describe and analyze three main trends observed in Georgia in recent months, including factors such as Mikheil Saakashvili, the return of Bidzina Ivanishvili to politics, and the protest rallies in Tbilisi. The paper will also evaluate the chances of various candidates in the upcoming presidential elections in the context of the current economic situation and the recent public opinion surveys. The article concludes that victory in the presidential elections is crucial for the ruling party, but the opposition also has the opportunity to consolidate. Read more...

"Caspian Convention and Perspective of Turkmenistan’s Gas Export to Europe" by Ilgar Gurbanov

By Editor CI

views: 97

Jan 4, 2019 - 5:10 PM

Negotiations on the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) project have been ongoing since the 1990s. Because of China’s dominant share in Turkmenistan’s gas exports and Ashgabat’s economic problems, the country needs a new route for gas diversification to ease its export dependence on China, as well as Russia. Thus far, the TCGP project has received numerous indications of political commitment from the actors involved in the project’s realization at bilateral and trilateral levels. However, the fate of pipeline remains obscure because of numerous political, technical, and financial problems. The recent Caspian Convention raised some optimism for the prospects of TCGP, though there are issues that remain to be addressed in this regard. This article examines the prospects for the TCGP project, principally by analyzing the positions of the EU, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Russia in terms of dependent variables (to what extent does the TCGP depend on these actors’ influence on the project’s implementation?) and independent variables (how will these actors be influenced by the project’s realization?), and presents prospective scenarios for trans-Caspian gas flow to Europe Read more...

BOOK REVIEW: “Eurasia’s Shifting Geopolitical Tectonic Plates: Global Perspective, Local Theaters” Alexandros Petersen

By Editor CI

views: 90

Jul 3, 2018 - 12:09 PM

This anthology features articles, short studies, and interviews written by Alexandros Petersen (1984–2014) over the span of ten years starting in 2004, and insightfully addresses the implications of the West withdrawing from its engagement with the Caucasus and Central Asia, the expansion of Chinese influence, and Russia’s strategic interests. Read more...

Colloquy with Eugene Seah: "Azerbaijan: A Linchpin for Eurasian Transportation and Transit Routes"

By Editor CI

views: 80

Jan 4, 2019 - 5:43 PM

Azerbaijan is located in the crossroads of international trade and is a potential hub for the international transportation routes, as well as region it is located. Its location, abundance of natural resources and dynamic new generation will help to realize hub vision. Strategic location and new infrastructure will allow Port of Baku to become a transit and logistics hub in Eurasia within One Belt, One Road project. Read more...

Caucasus Under Review - Recently Published Books

By Editor CI

views: 71

Jul 3, 2018 - 12:05 PM

While the Caucasus is a region of enormous diversity and potential, it is also a region about which relatively little is known. However, during the last decade, numerous publications on the region have expanded both regional and international understanding of this diversity and potential. This overview of recent publications provides an up-to-date reading list for anyone interested in the region. This issue presents recently published books which delve into a range of issues, from the Cold War to new geopolitics; Russian geopolitics to the Sasanian Empire; the Cultural Revolution to new media; from Azerbaijan’s foreign policy and the EU’s role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to East-West transportation corridor. Read more...

"China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Rise of Chinese Eurasianism as a Eurasian Integration Strategy against Atlanticism?" by Ozgur Tufekci

By Editor CI

views: 61

Jan 4, 2019 - 5:39 PM

The geopolitical spaces of the ideology of Eurasianism, such as Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and Europe, form the main framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as destinations for Chinese goods, services, and capital. For this reason, the BRI is, on the one hand, both a cause and effect of the political-economic interests of China; while, on the other hand, it provides a dynamic for the regional integration policies of the Chinese government. When Xi Jinping became China’s new leader in 2012, he signalled that he would pursue a “pro-active” foreign policy course. Moreover, his foreign policy understanding has represented, to some extent, the end of the era of Deng Xiaoping’s reactive “bide and hide” foreign policy strategy. Nevertheless, it remains necessary to deal with the issue of whether this pro-activeness will transform into a single robust foreign policy perspective that benefits from the ideologies of Eurasianism or Atlanticism. What is known about ideology-driven Atlanticism is that it has been prioritizing the securitization of Eurasia. However, it seems that China’s development-oriented approach is more promising for those countries that are in need of reconstruction and development. If China could manage to remodel Atlanticism through an ideology of Eurasianism, the landmass would become a new and competitive ground where the new power can assert its own influence and create streamlined connectivity. Read more...

"The Belt and Road Initiative and Its Implications for Communicating China–Europe Relations" by Deqiang Ji and Xuezhi Du

By Editor CI

views: 59

Jan 4, 2019 - 5:41 PM

In the past five years, the Belt and Road Initiative has become a buzzword in the Chinese government’s policymaking in a wide range of arenas, including trans-border trade relationships, international diplomacy, national branding, and external communication, which, together, arguably define a China-initiated alternative path towards a new world order. As a communicative process, the BRI has been vigorously promoted by both the government and the state-owned media system to increase China’s global reach. Given the geopolitical dynamics that accompany the Belt and Road, it is necessary to theoretically rethink the complex communication relationship between China and different regions. China–EU relations have been chosen for the discussion in this article because of the connections via both the old and new Silk Roads. Firstly, we briefly lay out a historical trajectory of the BRI and the new connotations that are officially encapsulated in this terminology. Secondly, we examine the geopolitical dynamics in which the BRI was proposed by the Chinese government as an active response towards the US’ Asia-Pacific Rebalancing Strategy; meanwhile, the BRI also provides for mutual needs between China and Europe in terms of economic cooperation and mediated communication. Thirdly, Chinese and European media have a great potential to collaborate at multiple levels in order to both broaden organizational exchange and deepen mutual understanding. Read more...

Editor’s Note

By Editor CI

views: 54

Jan 4, 2019 - 5:45 PM

The current issue of the Caucasus International (CI) journal entitled “Connectivity in Eurasia: Implications for South Caucasus Region” is dedicated to the transportation and transit routes in Eurasia, the new transport initiatives of the regional and small countries, and the repercussions of all these for the economic stability and security of the South Caucasus states. While analyzing the transportation routes, the authors also reflected their views on the utilization of these projects as soft power instruments over the bilateral relations of these countries with other international/regional actors. Read more...

"China’s Hard Power versus Soft Power in Central Asia: An Analysis of the ‘One Belt-One Road Initiative’ as a Soft Power Instrument" by Gülşen Aydin and Müge Yüce

By Editor CI

views: 52

Jan 4, 2019 - 5:36 PM

The One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative is a massive project involving more than 60 countries with an approximate cost of $6 trillion. It is based on the legacy of the Silk Road, which historically connected China to many countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe. This article aims to examine the OBOR initiative from the perspective of soft power debates in International Relations (IR). This is done in five steps. First, the introduction introduces the subject and provides a brief discussion on its importance. The second section deals with the concept of soft power and the role of soft power in Chinese foreign policy. Then, the study introduces the One Belt One Road Project and its importance for Eurasian connectivity. The fourth section discusses how OBOR acts as an instrument of soft power. The conclusion argues that the OBOR initiative complies with the definition Joseph S. Nye provided for soft power as it is totally devoid of coercion and helps to improve the Chinese image in many senses. Read more...
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