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 The King of the East: Modern Imperialism

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Jak Hardy
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PostSubject: The King of the East: Modern Imperialism   Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:57 pm

The Cold War and Central Asian Politics:
Then, Now and Beyond Tomorrow
Jak Hardy (Form: 11S)

“The question, usually unspoken, remains: what is responsible for the undeniable problems? Is it the residue of the seventy-four years of communist rule? Or are the current troubles simply the consequence of mismanaged reform that threatens the entire region?” (Kenez, 2006). As this quotation well summates, Central Asia’s political atmosphere has been transformed dramatically over the recent centuries, a large portion of which was as a result of the Cold War between the Soviet Union (of which it was part) and the United States of America. So as to understand this pivotal change in Central Asia as a direct result of the Cold War, economic change, foreign relations shifts and both ideology and the politico-structural changes between 1929 and 2009, must be analysed. The Cold War took the Central Asian region from stagnancy to Soviet subservience, foundational to its current unstable and vitally unsolidified-state, which is positioning it for a renewed economic subservience.

Central Asia played a crucial role in the Cold War, primarily a war of economics. So it is essential that the region’s economy was thus influenced. Prior to the war the area had maintained economic operation through unindustrialised means, “Central Asia sourced most of its economic units through agriculture… termed ‘the Black Earth region’ by Russians” (Lynch, 2005). In stating this, Professor Lynch, who teaches ‘Peace and Conflict Studies’ as a guest around the world, reliably infers that this ‘Black Earth region’ was a hub for food production and textiles- until the 1920’s. The post-revolution Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, under communist-dictator Josef Stalin, made it a constituent to the Soviet Union. From the takeover developed ‘industrialised-collectivisation’ a process by which a majority of the Central Asian population was forced into labour deportation, part of Stalin’s five-Year Plan. The move led to “…many millions [dying], produce destroyed… so the rich could maintain their wealth” (Laver, 2002: p122-123) - corruption which paved the way for the industrial Soviet Union, booming with resource-extraction (Langley, 2006) and construction. Yet, when the Soviet Union fell into dissolution, the world stood shocked. “The collapse of the Soviet Union was widely welcomed… [as a] path of political and economic development” (Verheljen, 2001). Yet history suggests that this was a mistaken assumption, a view that Chatham House (2009), the policy branch of the Royal Historical Society (United Kingdom), emphatically agrees with: “Poverty levels across the region are anywhere from 40 to 60 to 70 percent of the total population… there are constant food shortages.” This evidences a modern economic instability, poverty being the key sign of financial failure in any nation. In this case, agrarian economy was quashed for Cold-War industrialisation and systems; taking it from motionless governmental positioning to a failing and weak state of economy. Moreover, the negative impacts found no cessation even in political structures.

Additionally to being an economy-driven war, ideology and political structures also played a dynamic role in the Cold War- Central Asia no exception. Preceding the war the region was led by a clan-system in which many leaders, including those of both Buddhist and Islamic governance, sought after and produced an invaluable example of peace-keeping (Bhadrakumar, 2012). Further, Chatham House (2009) agrees in its effectiveness by stating that, “…the pre-modern social structure was able to sustain itself prior to the modern nation states which emerged.” These modern nation-states are those that stemmed from Stalin’s unionisation of Central Asia and their establishments were detrimental to the self-sustaining system already in place. Bhadrakumar, a sociologist from the region, supports this fact by stating “…the All-Union Soviet Congress took over, clan and religious leadership being abolished” which reveals the forcefulness that came in the takeover and the lack of care taken in maintaining the structures in place. In this abolition came an eradication of all deviating ideology- an ‘ideological purge’ that led to an undemocratic, undiplomatic dictatorship. This abolition came to a close nearing the end of the rule of Mikhail Gorbachev, evidenced in his 1987 address to Congress, where he states to show his vision for the direction of his party, “The political system is being radically transformed. True democracy with free elections, a multi-party system and human rights are being established and genuine government by the people is being reborn” (Gorbachev, 1987). Nonetheless, Gorbachev’s intentions were listed in vain. A decade after this speech reveals that the former Soviet Central Asian region is led by countless presidents who rule, by decree, a nation inconsistent with international standards of clarity and liberty (Luong, 2002). Political analyst Foust (2011) acknowledges this trend, maintaining rather strongly, “Although the names have changed, the institutions of government remain similar to those that existed before the breakup of the Soviet Union…” This information affirms the idea that ideology and political structure, despite the Cold War having passed, are still driven by the same values, failures and corruptions, replaying the dawn of the post-Bolshevik shift into Soviet subservience and the diplomatic relations that resulted.

Employed as valuable weaponry during the Cold War, diplomacy and foreign relations were forced into the forefront of the dispute and were consequently affected. Before the Cold War, the Central Asian nations were very northward in their focus, with each nation “looking greatly to Russia for support and defence” (Lynch M., 2005), due to the fact that Russia had developed so powerfully since the Revolution of 1917. So, at the moment Russia sought (very strongly) to unionise the states, they accepted the governance wholeheartedly- with their own accords first and foremost leading them. As a result, each nation developed minimal but existent ties with its neighbour, each being part of the All-Union Congress. Then, each nation having been united in their Russian-following, there came an intra-regional influx of refugees and migrants- increasing at over a million people a year as they escape the conflict (Tasbutov, 2002). In response to this, the governments, respective and under Soviet advice, cut ties with all nations outside the region. Foreigners were cut off and western influence banned (Kenez, 2006). In according consequence, this action strained intra-regional ties, as the asylum pressures and outside economic help faded. Such an imposed-isolation led to, when the war finally ended, a pre-Cold War situation, in that national clan-affiliation became key to dealing with external issues (thus, they were rarely responded to). “Tajikistan can’t generate power when dams freeze and the neighbours don’t want to help” (Greenberg, 2009) is a statement that supports the fact that the individual nations of the region have become a very self-preservative people, as they were before the Cold War. They served Russia when it grew to power in that same self-preservation and it is becoming apparent that another nation is too growing, perhaps in position for Central Asian subservience.

With all that said, it is evident that much has changed in the Central Asian region. Accordingly, the future of Central Asian politics is tentative. The economy has come to ruin as a result of mismanaged reform; the political structure and ideology has fallen into a corrupt dictatorship and the foreign relations field is one of a pre-subservient self-preservation, as in the case of pre-unionisation. Nevertheless, the group of nations may have a bright future. “The social situation of the population improves… more money is directed to welfare… economy begins to grow” (Krumm, 2007) is the outcome, according to political scholar Richard Krumm, if the region finds itself subservient once again, but under a healthier model than Russia. He continues, “America has lost influence in Central Asia to such an extent that it scarcely has any means available to convince the governments of the region to export energy southwards. At the same time, China’s influence is growing stronger” (Krumm, 2007). In 1917, after the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, the USSR grew to extreme ‘superpower’ in regards to economy and structure. China likewise is growing in these disciplines (as Krumm upholds), making it a healthy model and its proximity to the region would allow an effective subservience. Ideologically, both regions (China and Central Asia) are communist/socialist by nature. This would allow a stable link between the two. Further, both nations hold the same organisational structures- presidency, prime ministry and delegates/ministers, consistency evidenced and necessary for effective union. Finally, the foreign relations field in Central Asia is looking fairly optimistic. With history exemplifying it, economist Erica Downs hypothesises that a nation that produces resources for extraction is “…more likely it is to obtain diplomatic and financial support from the Chinese government for its subsequent investments” (Downs, 2007). Available for trade, the Central Asian nations are laden with oil, minerals and arable land for agriculture (Kish, 1988) which was supported by Lynch in his pre-Cold War economic discussion. It exemplifies the possible prospect of a China-Central Asian relationship tightening, with China at the head and Central Asia dependently cradled in China’s grip.

Central Asia was a vital part of the Cold War, in economy and in diplomacy. Subservient to Russia as it joined the Soviet Union and corrupted as a result, the region came to ruin with poverty increase and structural integrity tossed out of the window. Yet, despite the fact that the Cold War shook the region’s foundations, forcing it into a historic self-preservative society, there appears to be a kindling of a diplomatic endeavour and the spark of a strong, Chinese ideology that is beginning to and will reignite the Central Asian region’s culture. When the golden hammer and sickle was finally pulled down over the Soviet Union, there was raised a tentative future. Only time will tell whether Central Asia will redevelop with the invaluable prospect of China and whether the region has learned from its mistakes.




Bibliography (In APA Form and Sty
le)

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Jak Hardy
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PostSubject: Re: The King of the East: Modern Imperialism   Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:01 am

I must add that my theory on the King of the East is not concrete: I am considering both China (based on my own studies) and also Iran, based on the studies of Rev. Gerald Rowlands OAM, an Israel-Prophecy expert. His work can be found at http://www.israelspropheticfuture.org/
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Lora
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PostSubject: Re: The King of the East: Modern Imperialism   Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:18 pm

I love the in-depth review. Nice work. It looks like you've put a lot of thought and study time into this. Are you writing this for school?

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Jak Hardy
WRITER (51-100 posts)
WRITER (51-100 posts)
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POETRY CONTEST WINNER POETRY CONTEST WINNER
Posts : 82
Age : 21
Join date : 2011-11-08
Location : Sunshine Coast, Australia

PostSubject: Re: The King of the East: Modern Imperialism   Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:20 am

Yeah, it was a History assignment (about the influence the Cold War had on the Modern World). There was definitely heaps of effort- 12000 words of pure reflection on research, then the essay and its draft.
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