Geography geographic factors which influence the Foreign Policy

   Geography
of any state is one of the most permanent and stable factor of its foreign Policy. The
strategic course of foreign policy of each country is closely connected with its
geographical location. The topography and fertility, climate and location are
the major geographic factors which influence the Foreign Policy of a nation.

   The Russian researcher A. Dugin gives an idea
of geopolitics as of outlook about the power, science about the power and for the
power1.
In other words, geopolitics is process of implementation of strategy of the
state by means of a figuring out of the most favorable conditions and creation
of the optimum atmosphere for achievement of the highest state interests with
the smallest losses.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

  Geopolitics, including disciplines as
geography, history and policy, on the one hand is defined as the narrow,
applied sphere of knowledge and research activity studying questions of
influence of spatial and geographical characteristics of the state on the
domestic and foreign policy pursued by it. At the same time the conclusions and
recommendations received as a result of concrete researches have private,
limited character. On the other hand, geopolitics is defined as the megatheory
integrating in itself all other social sciences and explaining not only
developments of the states and their unions, but also regional and global
transformations of system of the international relations. In a foreshortening
of this position geopolitics applies for the sweeping generalization acting in
the form of the objective laws explaining the mechanism and logic of
civilization development.

   To define limits of geopolitical approach to foreign
policy analysis, in our work we use Central
Asia as an important geopolitical region
for the three strongest states of the world as the USA, Russia and China. Being one of extensive research approaches in the
analysis of foreign policy, although geopolitical approach can define
importance of given region on the world scene, but cannot promote the choice of
the most useful power for given region.

1. Geopolitical approach to foreign policy analysis of Central Asia

1.1 Central Asia as a continental core of Earth

    Taking into consideration the main geopolitical calculations of the
theory of H. Mackinder about a continental core of Earth – Central Asia, then
according to it who owns a continental core, will own also the World island,
the one who will own the World island will own the world. Thus, the region of
Central Asia for several reasons becomes the center of crossing of economic,
political, religious and other interests of the leading world powers. Today
here the interests of such states as Russia, the USA, Turkey, Iran, India,
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the European states face. Additional interest in the
region is attracted by a possibility of access to natural wealth of the region,
for the choice of routes oil and gas pipelines, for sales markets.

   The deal of
geopolitical forces which developed today in Central Asia suits all or almost
all states which sphere of national interests is covered by this region. This
deal suits the United States and the West, in general, because is a guarantee
not only against revival of the anti-American or anti-Western alliance which
the Soviet Union, but also a guarantee of weakening of influence in this region
of Russia, China with simultaneous strengthening of the positions in it was. It
suits also China as opposition between Russia and the USA in this region,
economic and political chaos in the Central Asian states gives the chance
“to seize occasion” for accumulation of own power and the solution of
a problem of reconstruction, more significant for China, “Big China”2.

   Though not fully, but it suits also Russia.
Without possessing sufficient material, financial and military resources for
unconditional domination in the region today, it can provide the presence and
influence at it, only using the so-called “general threats” and
“nation-wide problems” and playing on contradictions between the
states of Central Asia. At last, this deal suits the states of Central Asia as
provides them an opportunity not only sovereign development, but that is
essential — material welfare of local political elite. On the other hand, there
is a number of quite natural questions. First, the similar situation how long
can be, and objective contradictions and threats how long taking place will
have latent character? Secondly, by what rules it is necessary to play on
international near – an average and long-term outlook? Thirdly, what world
order will promote geopolitical stability and what processes can result in the
return result, what place of the concrete state in the general scheme of future
world order? In this regard there is one more question of what role of the
states of Central Asia in a new “geopolitical solitaire” and what
position should be taken them in own national interests? Today Central Asia
owing to objective circumstances takes the key place in the system of the
developing international relations which will determine the content of
worldwide policy in the next decade. Respectively, interest in it grows and
will continue to grow, as from the western countries interested in control of a
situation in crucial zones of the Russian, Chinese and Islamic interests and
from Russia, China and the states of “an Islamic arch”. But
there is a question “How to the Countries of Central Asia to define a
profitable partner in a new arena of international relations and not to lose
the game?”. As the countries of the Central Asia are the young developing
states, the solution of this question is an important step for the future
development of the country.

   1.2 Central Asia as an
important geopolitical region for China

   Nowadays
there are three competing geopolitical projects in Central Asia – American
project of “New Silk Road”3,
Russian project of “Eurasian Union”4
and the Chinese project of “Economic Belt of the Silk Road”5.
These three appeared almost simultaneously, which happened due to changes
initiated by these countries in their policies with respect to Central Asia.

    According to K. Syroezhkin, the only thing that really
can to stop advance of the People’s Republic of China to Central Asia, it is
stirring up of integration processes in Eurasia. In this sense formation of the
Customs union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, and in the long term and
formation of the Eurasian Economic Union became essential steps forward in
restriction of appetites of China in the former Soviet Union in general and in
Central Asia in particular. The author consistently considers tactics of
penetration of China into the region – from granting grants to students for
training in the Chinese higher education institutions (30 thousand grants
annually) to readiness to finance creation of transport infrastructure from the
Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.   K. Syroezhkin considers that “the
conflict of interests of China and Russia in Central Asia will accrue, and is
quite predictable that new political elite of the states of the region will
make a choice for China”. In this plan of the People’s Republic of China
the competition between Russia and the USA on space of Central Asia quite
arranges.

   Beijing would not like to see in the region
of only one dominating geopolitical players.

Characterizing the
geopolitical duel which is developed on open spaces of Central Asia, K. Syroezhkin
notes that among political elite of Kazakhstan sometimes there is an opinion that,
approaching the Bear and an enormous Dragon within the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization, Kazakh Bars6 should
not forget that their counterbalance and the final guarantor of independence in
an extreme situation is not Russia, but the USA and the NATO alliance any more.

1.3    The SCO as a vehicle for coordinated
opposition to the United States in Central Asia 

  The members of Shanghai Five group became a
formal regional security organization known as the SCO, and expanded to include
Uzbekistan in 2001. At first the U.S. military intervention in

Afghanistan and agreements
to use bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan eclipsed the SCO’s security role. Consequently,
American officials initially downplayed the importance of the organization, but
after Uzbekistan decided at the 2005 annual meeting to request American forces
to leave its base at Karshi- Khanabad, the United States began paying closer attention
to the impact of the SCO for U.S. interests in Central Asia.

Scholars in
the West are divided about the impact of the SCO on regional security and U.S. interests
in Central Asia. While recognizing that its members have different agendas on
certain issues, some observers are concerned that China and Russia intend to
use the SCO as a vehicle for coordinated opposition to the United States in
Central Asia. Another perspective goes even further, holding that the SCO is notable
for “evolving into one of the most powerful regional organizations in post-Cold
War Asia,” which promotes strategic cooperation among Central Asian states and
seeks to protect regime security. Other analysts downplay the potential threat
the SCO could pose to the United States and highlight the conflicts of interests
among the participants.

 The region of Central Asia became an important
arena for Sino-Russian cooperation and an equally significant test of its limits.
The following section first explores the areas of agreement in Chinese and
Russian policies in relation to Central Asia. China and Russia have three types
of areas of overlapping concern in Central Asia. The first one is that they
both view the region as a test case for their aim to create a multipolar world order,
based on a “democratic” vision of international affairs in which states wield
influence and counterbalance U.S. power. In their May 23, 2008, joint statement,
Russia and China asserted that “International security is comprehensive and
inalienable, and some countries’ security cannot be guaranteed at the cost of
some others’, including expanding military and political allies.” 80 Russian
and Chinese leaders regularly call for greater cooperation and coordination in
the SCO between their two countries in the context of their broader goal of
promoting of multilateral diplomacy.

The main
proof of domination of Russia and China in Central Asia is integration of the countries
because of SCO.

 

 2. Kazakhstan in the center of a
geopolitical game

 2.1 Delimitation of geopolitical
approach to the analysis of foreign policy of Kazakhstan.

   In the
developed deal of political forces in the world and the Central Asian region
Kazakhstan, owing to the geographical location, scales of the territory,
resource and human potential, objectively holds the central geostrategic
position. It creates for the republic as the complex of problems, and gives
chance to acquire the status of the real political player, which will make both
all states of the region, and the leading powers of the world to be interested
in.

     Earlier we have already defined a geopolitical
role of the countries of Central Asia on the world scene of the international
relations. So, being an important part of it each country should create own
geopolitical strategy, because through geopolitical approach to foreign policy
analysis the state can’t define only one partner of foreign policy.

    Proceeding
from this situation, new to it, Kazakhstan has to develope own geopolitical
development strategy and have the action program on its realization. A main
goal of this strategy — working off of the program of the tactical actions
providing the most favorable conditions for Kazakhstan in a modern situation,
especially in anticipation of the forthcoming essential changes on perimeter. Five
directions seem the most relevant here:

-relations with the West
and, first of all, USA;

-the southern direction —
Uzbekistan and Afghanistan;

-the northern and northeast
direction — Russia;

-east direction — China;

-the fifth direction is contradictions
around the Caspian Sea.
The Caspian problem is one of
the most critical debatable questions. As for the first direction, now in Central
Asia in the policy the West and the USA seek for replacement of Russia from
this region and to strengthening of the political and economic influence in it.

     The USA already controls today almost all
world financial institutions, their interests dominate in the majority of the
countries of Europe and the Asia- Pacific region attempts to expand the
influence on the countries of “an Islamic arch” are made, control
over which provides world supremacy. However a preliminary condition is control
over the states of Eurasia on which open spaces a new “geopolitical
game” develops. The main goal of the United States — to prevent emergence
in political arena of the rival, “capable to dominate in Eurasia and,
therefore, throwing down a challenge to America”. In a long-term plan
Kazakhstan has to consider this tendency and decide accurately on the strategic
allies in the region. So far, unfortunately, it should be noted that such definiteness
is absent. The problem is that in most cases commercial interests appear above
national interests. And that dangerous tendency about which it was told earlier
just is not noticed or ignored. As for the southern direction, here essentially
important the following aspects are represented. First, tension in Afghanistan
tends to escalation and transfer of extremist activity out of its limits. And
the greatest danger is constituted not by hypothetical probability of the
direct armed invasion of talibs7, it
is real threat of refugees and export of critical potential of war to the
region of Central Asia. If to speak about the collected powerful critical
potential, then for today realities are that it is capable not only to break
finally Tajikistan, but also to create serious threat of destabilization of a
situation in Uzbekistan that, in turn, will instantly be reflected in a
situation in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Secondly, serious influence, both on
formation of foreign policy of Kazakhstan, and on an internal political
situation in the republic is rendered by a problem of relationship with the
states of Central Asia, and first of all, with Uzbekistan. Significant aspects
here a little: problem of water resources; problem of ensuring collective
security; at last, a problem of internal political and social and economic
stability in the states of the region, first of all, in Kyrgyzstan8.

A specific
place for Kazakhstan is held by the relations with the Russian Federation.
Noticeable loss of political and economic positions of Russia in Central Asia
does not allow it to remain the dominating reference point for the countries of
the region any more. On the one hand, the formed vacuum is filled with the
amplified influence in the region of the USA, China, Turkey and Iran, and with
another — creation attempts of “the common market of Central Asia”.
Except for the general threats about which the speech is lower for the rest
leaders of the countries of Central Asia, apparently, are not inclined to wait
any more until Russia copes with the problems.

 2.2
Is it worth relying on geopolitical
approach to determine the influence of China on Kazakhstan?

If to look
at the map, it is possible to see that Kazakhstan is located in the center of
the Eurasian continent, between Russia and China. And so, if to distract from
our vanity and daily problems and to begin to consider a question in scales of
century, then it is easy to notice that already realized the world — China
turns into a super state, which in a couple of decades threatens to remove for
supporting parts even the USA with their huge economy and nuclear weapon.

The Chinese
leaders try to reach the maximum effect at the minimum expenses. Moreover, in
the conditions of globalization and internationalization there is any more no
need to establish direct control over the territory to get access to the
natural wealth which are in its subsoil or to exploit its economic potential. For
today China surely occupies one of leading places among the main foreign
investors of Kazakhstan9.

Using
geopolitical approach we defined a role of China in foreign policy of
Kazakhstan. But we are not capable to define as far as everything is serious.
What is the level of  economic depending
of Kazakhstan on China. Not only the geography and climate plays a role in the
level of development of the country. Anyway we begin to refer to economy. The
foreign policy of the country is closely connected with domestic policy
therefore geopolitical approach to the analysis of foreign policy of the country
is limited in this sphere.

  No foreign policy practice can do without
accounting of geopolitical factors because objective realities which do not
depend on human consciousness are the cornerstone of geopolitics.

  From the geopolitical point of view Central
Asia acts as intersection located between China, Russia and India and South –
Western Asia. This strategic and economic location which is rich in energy,
cheap human resources, mines, water and better ecology have caused that super
powers and other big countries are staring to the region. Besides China and
Russia, which are playing as main factors or key players in the region, Iran,
India and Turkey and even Japan would like to interfere in Central Asia and are
trying to be top in all affairs in the region.

    This analysis has presented an importance of Central Asia to be the main player on the
scene of international relations. But this geopolitical approach did not give
us an opportunity to identify geopolitical partner for countries of Central
Asia.

   Thus, being key part of Central Asia, Kazakhstan,
holding an advantageous geographical location, is the region of collision of
strategic interests of China, Russia, the European countries, the USA and
states of “the Islamic world”; besides, various religions – Islam,
the Christianity presented by various currents intertwine here.

   In conclusion, analyzing the geopolitical
approach to foreign policy analysis, I can firmly say that therefore the course
of maintaining foreign and domestic policy of Kazakhstan and all related
changes will have essential value for prosperity of the all Asian region. At
the same time, the same geopolitical factor causes a possibility of threat of a
homeland security of Kazakhstan. As a result Kazakhstan has to carry out
flexible and multilateral diplomatic approach according to national interests –
preservation of peaceful partner relationship with neighboring states. Because
of geopolitical location it is impossible to choose unilateral partnership for
development of the country, so Kazakhstan has to choose a multivector foreign
policy.