Is There a Central Asia? State Visits and an Empirical Delineation of the Region’s Boundaries
This article assesses the extent to which post-Soviet Central Asia is emerging as an interactive regional subsystem focused more on problems and actors within the region than on those outside the region. The answer to this question has important implications for policy, because in the presence of a strong subsystem the important sources of change in the region cannot be exclusively domestic in nature. Yet no empirical analysis of the international relations of the Central Asian states in any systematic way exists. In this article, I delineate the regional boundaries of Central Asia using intergovernmental visits data to uncover whether the region serves as an entree point for analysis. I analyze the results of the visits data using three structural models to assess the degree of fit for each. The findings suggest that a highly interactive subsystem does not yet exist; instead a Moscow-centric subsystem of interactions still persists in the region.
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