NEW GREAT GAME
Regional Balance of Power?
International Relations Program
International University of Japan
―Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;
Who rules the Heartland commands the World
Who rules the World Island commands the world.‖
Sir Harold Mackinder
“The Geographical Pivot of History”
Geography gives rise to unequal opportunities,
which in turn leads to unequal growth,
which ultimately leads to war.
The New Great Game
game where Central Asia and the
Caucasus are the subjects of
great powers like the USA, Russia and
China for regional and global
Here the important target for the
confrontation of major powers is oil and gas
The increasing role of Central Asia
Possession of huge hydrocarbon resources;
The geographic position in the intersection of Eurasian
transport corridors and presence of a wide transport
and communication network. Through Iran - to Persian
Gulf, through Afghanistan and Pakistan — to Indian
Ocean, through China — to Asian-Pacific region.
The importance of geographical position of Central Asia
in the center of the Eurasia for security and stability of
the entire continent;
The influence of each state of Central Asia on the
balance of power in Eurasia
After 11/9 Central Asia became the target for
international forces, especially USA in the “war on
Interests of Powers
Russia: consolidated the region as a historical sphere of
influence, both political and economic
oil diplomacy - decrease the dependence on
Persian Gulf which is under the influence of the
USA, mixture of ―win-win‖ rhetoric on trade, sizeable
handouts, close attention to power politics and a refusal to
choose between Russia and the US
USA: to prevent Russian control of the region
1. democratization process of the region
2. Central Asia as the new source of hydrocarbon
resources: alternatives to Russian energy resources from
which Europe is highly dependent
3. 11/9 – war on terrorism: military bases in Manas(since
Dec, 2001) and Karshi-Khanabad (2001-2005)
Hydrocarbon fuels of Central Asia
Water in Central Asia
Struggle for water
• Rogun Dam in Tajikistan – it would be the highest
per capita for generating electricity, and
the world's tallest dam with a height of 335 metres.
The hydroelectric power plant - total capacity of
3,600 MW (expected)
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan opposed to build dam: high
consumption of water(!) and environmental threats
• Kambarata Dam in Kyrgyzstan - It will be one of the
largest dams in the world at the time of its
completion, standing approximately 275 metres
high. The hydroelectric power plant - will generate
Kazakhstan – emerging Petro-State?
• Kazakhstan is among the 15 nations of the world having
the largest hydrocarbon reserves.
• On-shore established resources of oil and gas condensate
are 29bln tons
• By 2010, led to the discovery of more than
200 hydrocarbon accumulations (including over 100 oil
fields and about 70 oil-and-gas fields).
• In 2000 Kashagan field was discovered as largest
discovery in past 30 years, in 2012 began its production
Pipeline politics of oil
• Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) – from Tengiz to
Novorossiysk, a Russian port on the Black Sea, 2001
• Atyrau-Samara pipeline – connects to Russian pipeline system
• Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) – from Azerbaijan to Turkish port
of Ceyhan, 2005. (For Kz the utility of this route remains
limited. So, there is initiative to build another pipeline, but
Russia totally has blocked this project: Law of Sea or Lake?)
• Kazakh-China pipeline – will extend from Atyrau (Kashagan)
to western China at Alashankou (Xinjiang), one of the longest
pipelines in the world – 2228 km, project was completed in
Geopolitics of Gas
• Turkmenistan’s deposits as 4th largest (after Russia, Iran
and Qatar) and Yolotan field as 2nd largest in the world.
• Europe is heavily dependent on Russia (Germany
supplies 37%, Bulgaria-92%, Greece-90%, Czech-75%,
Austria-51%, Hungary-65%, Baltic States-100% of gas
80% of European supply flows through
Ukraine. In 2006, 2009 Russia shut off gas to Ukraine
So, Europeans and the US want to develop routes outside
Russian control ---- to bring CA gas to Europe
Gas pipeline projects: myth?
• Nabucco – potential key project, “southern corridor
strategy” from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to Austria
and Germany, very long (3300km) and expensive
The project has long been delayed, bogged down in disagreements
between Turkey and Europe over terms and by maneuvers from
Russia, which is pressing for a competing pipeline, South Stream.
project promoted by ADB, very expensive, 1735 km in
length. It would deliver about 33 bln m3 of gas to South
Asia each year.
Problem – Afghanistan! (735 km must cross through Afghan territory)
“Peace pipeline” between India and Pakistan?
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