Some highlights from recent posts with The Diplomat:
- On Europe disappointing Turkmenistan:
At the time, the idea [of transporting Turkmen gas to the EU] was fanciful enough for any number of reasons, most notably due to Russian and Iranian willingness — or lack thereof — in permitting a trans-Caspian pipeline to bypass their own transit routes. Two years on, with a trans-Caspian pipeline appearing no closer to fruition, the notion of Turkmen gas reaching European markets by the end of the decade appears that much more farfetched, a notion that Sefovic hinted at last month to his Turkmen audience.
- On India and Pakistan joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization:
All told, the SCO’s looming expansion almost certainly won’t exacerbate the tensions running between India and Pakistan. But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the milestone regional representatives would have it be. If anything, SCO coordination — what exists of it — is set to become that much more difficult moving forward, especially as it pertains to focusing on terrorism. Indeed, when India and Pakistan first entered the path to formally joining the SCO two years ago, many observers surmised this was because China actually wanted to toss a wrench into the SCO’s gears, all the better to allow Beijing to act unilaterally. (Although the potential for regional refoulement will likely grow with the accession.) Likewise, Russia’s Crimea annexation, as well as its ongoing occupations in Georgia, have effectively neutered SCO claims about fighting the “three evils,” which include separatism.
- And on measuring "peacefulness" throughout Central Asia:
Given the economic slowdowns, threats of Russian revanchism, and entrenching autocracies across the region, there would seem little grounds for optimism girding Central Asia’s broader near-term outlook. However, while certain aspects of regional development point toward concerns ahead — say, Turkmenistan’s economic cul-de-sac, or Kazakhstan’s lack of presidential succession plans — not all news on the region’s outlook need necessarily be dire.
Such are the findings of the most recent Global Peace Index (GPI), an annual ranking from the Institute for Economics and Peace that collates the “level of peacefulness” across the world.