04 December, 2017

Between East and West: Kazakhstan’s Way of Development

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Kazakhstan, located between the East and the West, can use its geostrategic advantage. It is important for Kazakhstan, due to its national history, to be in a privileged geopolitical position between the West and the East, and uniting the civilizations.

Geographically it is true that most of Kazakhstan’s territory lies in Asia, though its western part belongs to Europe. Thus, the country connects Europe and Asia. Kazakhstan, which reaches the Pacific Ocean through China, could approach Turkey and southern Europe through neighboring Azerbaijan through the Caspian Sea. Additionally, other states can reach Russia and northern Europe via Kazakhstan as well as Iran and the Middle East through the Caspian Sea. In my opinion, by its geographical location, Kazakhstan is similar to the geostrategic location of leading Muslim countries like Turkey and Egypt, which connect civilizations and regions. In this regard, Kazakhstan, which connects Europe and China across the continent, has a great responsibility and challenges in the field of inter-regional economic cooperation.

Historically the Central Asian region was situated along the Great Silk Road, once the main route for inter-cultural exchanges and an arterial road of the global economy in the Middle Ages. Today, The West and The East are close to each other within the framework of the Silk Road infrastructure project launched by China and the transport initiatives of Europe, Caucasus, and Asia (TRACECA).

The synchronization of the Eurasian Economic Union, initiated by Kazakhstan and Russia, with China's "One Road, One Belt" infrastructural initiative not only helps to revitalize or modernize the New Silk Road,  it also allows Kazakhstan to further develop and integrate its "Nurly Zhol" project of logistics, transport, energy, and transit. To this end, launching the Astana International Finance Center, Khorgos logistics center, "Western Europe Western China" highway, the China-Kazakhstan-Russia railway, China-West Kazakhstan energy and railway routes will serve economic development of the whole region. In this sense, speaking at the 3rd meeting of Astana Club, President N.Nazarbayev emphasized that Europe and Asia can only develop on the basis of mutually beneficial cooperation and free trade. This statement was a reflection of deep understanding of the geopolitics. Since the future of Eurasia will depend on integration, which is based on the principles of equality, mutual respect, and international law. The Senate Speaker K.Tokayev also noted that there should be a balance of interests of the major powers such as China, Russia, the United States and the European Union.   

It is worth noting that the post-Soviet republics, which have close cultural, religious and linguistic ties, can play a major role as a bridge between China and Europe, Russia and the Islamic world. The Kazakh President stressed that the geopolitical, geo-economic and ideological differences between the East and the West are growing. In this regard, the strengthening of friendly, cultural and economic relations between the West and the East, and, more importantly between Central Asia and China is essential for Kazakhstan's long-term interests. For the consolidation of our region, it is necessary for Europe and China to have a close cultural and economic relationship, elaborated in accord with the objective laws of development. The friendly socio-political environment, especially in the largest neighboring countries, is necessary for regional stability and peaceful development. Under such conditions, Kazakhstan continues to suggest a unifying agenda of economic cooperation, security, and dialogue for neighboring countries.   

From the perspective of socio-political development, it is possible for the region, to adopt the preferable elements of the Eastern model of social organization and effective Western governance mechanism, as well as to adapt them to national environment and follow the path of the developed countries. In this respect, Kazakhstan has to distance itself from the ideological division and geopolitical propaganda games, in the framework of its long-term state interests. Astana has a capacity to rely upon the supremacy of law in line with the civilized countries. Thus, the social system that seeks justice might be strengthened, and the effective model of political development can be improved. It is obvious that political diversity and competition are necessary for economic activism of society. To this effect, Kazakhstan, which is a law-governed state under its Constitution, can pay more attention to universal values such as the primacy of law.

One of the priorities of Kazakhstan is to strengthen and improve its position in the world community. Along with the implementation of multilateral economic and cultural integration for this purpose, Kazakhstan switches to the Latin alphabet and train world-class, open-minded professionals through Bolashak scholarship program. In the upcoming period, the countries, which combine the social, economic and technological opportunities, will establish the new model of dynamic development. There is hope that Kazakhstan could be one of those new innovative countries.    

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