Geography given region. 1. Geopolitical approach to

   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.

  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.