Meta-Geopolitics of Central Asia : A Comparative Study of the Regional Influence of the European Union and the Shanghai Co-operation Organization
Sammanfattning: Central Asia has been the focal point of intense geopolitical power struggle throughout history. At the dawn of the 21st century, Central Asia has undergone major changes as the European Union and the China-led Shanghai Co-operation Organization have emerged as two normative powers, both seeking to influence the patterns of security governance in the region. This study aims to delve deep into ‘the black boxes’ of the EU’s and China’s foreign policies toward five CA republics. It starts from the premise that the bulk of research on Eurasian politics tend to concentrate mostly on realist and traditional geopolitical doctrine, which seem to have failed to properly explain the normative and ideational transformations that have taken place in the region as a result of the presence of these two emerging normative agents. By interweaving both realist and constructivist theories of International Relations (IR) into a new all-encompassing analytical framework, termed “meta-geopolitics”, the thesis seeks to trace and examine how geopolitical as well as normative components of the EU and Chinese regional strategies have affected the contemporary power dynamics in the post-Soviet space. I argue that, in contrast to the geopolitical struggle during the 19th and 20th centuries, a clash of normative powers is brewing in the region between China, under the aegis of the SCO, and the EU. The research also concludes that China has relatively been in a better position in comparison to the EU to render its policies as feasible, effective and legitimate to the Central Asian states.
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