Monthly Archives: June 2007

Links on Central Asia

I’m back. Here you have some interesting links on Central Asia Studies

The first one is the Turkish Center for International Relations

You can find very interesting information on this web from the Caspian Sea Problem till the Armenian issue (which is by the way a very hot issue in Turkey)

The classical John Hopkins University Russian and Eurasian Studies

Very remarkable is the Beijing Oil Diplomacy toward Central Asia and Russia: Basic Motivations and the Impact of the Events of 11 September 2001

And the working paper on Russia-Tadjikistan security relations after September 11th

Following we have the RAND Center for Russia and Eurasia

See the document
On economic dimension of security in Central Asia

News on Central Asia

Read this new!:


Nuevo Boletín GovernAsia y Cuadernos de China

Ha aparecido el 4arto Boletín de GovernAsia, esta vez dedicado a China. Aquí los artículos:


– Los desafíos del nuevo escenario institucional chino tras casi tres décadas de reformas pro-mercado
Iñigo Macías-Aymar

– Camino del XVII Congreso del Partido Comunista Chino
Xulio Ríos

– Corrupción y gobernanza en China
Mario Esteban

– La licuación de la sociedad china contemporánea
Manel Ollé

Por otra parte también acaba de ver la luz el primer numero de Cuadernos de China, del portal IberChina (Iberglobal):
Entrevista con Eugenio Bregolat: la segunda revolución china
Entrevista con Taciana Fisac: una mirada experta sobre China
Los 15 hitos clave en las relaciones económicas de España con la China de la reforma

  • Monografía sobre China de la Oficina de Información Diplomática (actualizada a mayo de 2007)
  • Plan integral de desarrollo de mercado de China
  • Guía país (marzo 2007)
  • Informe económico y comercial (marzo 2007)
  • New Turkmenistan

    In we can read the following: Turkmen TV reported that at the latest Cabinet meeting Berdymuhammedov turned down the idea of “a worthy celebration of the 50th anniversary of the leader of the nation” promoted by some ministers who, traditionally enough, referred to it being “an initiative of the people.” “I appreciate it as a human being. As the head of state, however, I do not think I have the right to issue orders on a subject that concerns me,”.

    So Berdymuhammedov decided not to celebrate it’s birthday as an state festivity… that’s new, and more important, that looks like good news for Turkmenistan. But, these symbolic gestures are not more important that the decision to abolish Nyazov International Trust Fund, one of the best tools of corruption, self enrichment and economic power of the former president of Turkmenistan.

    Something is changing, slowly, in Turkmenistan. But personal cult has always been easier to overcome that a bad political system and, from a Webber point of view, if carisma is outdated in Turkmenistan, what’s next? or maybe we’ll have to reconsider the idea that carisma was so important to understand the legitimacy of the Turkmenbashi…

    Informe de OCDE sobre BRICS

    Las conclusiones del informe de la OCDE sobre el mercado laboral de los BRICS y OCDE tiene interesantes conclusiones:

    Las economías del BRIC —grupo integrado por Brasil, Rusia, la India y China— representan ya una cuarta parte del producto interno bruto (PIB) mundial,(…)En conjunto, los países del BRIC crearon 22 millones de nuevos empleos por año en los primeros cinco años del milenio, comparado con 3’7 millones en la totalidad del área de la OCDE.

    A mediano plazo, los países del BRIC habrán de empezar a experimentar un considerable envejecimiento demográfico, lo que limitará la oferta de nuevos trabajadores. Durante los próximos 15 años, el crecimiento de la fuerza laboral disminuirá en la India, bajará a la mitad en Brasil y de hecho se estancará en China; en Rusia, la fuerza laboral incluso podría contraerse.

    Oil and Gas in Central Asia

    The Foreign Policy Blog on Central Asia has a post on Peak Oil in Central Asia. Well, I don’t think that the Peak Oil theory is very well understood in that post, but there is interesting data:

    According to the BP report and RFE/RL, the years of production that Kazakhstan has at present levels of extraction is 76.5 years; Azerbaijan, 29.3 years; Turkmenistan, 9.2 years; and Russia, 22.3 years. (…) Ideally, states use that “oil revenue window” to develop a varied economy using oil income as a jumpstart for a new economic engine.

    I like the concept “oil revenue window”, and then the post continues refering to the resources trap and dutch disease theories (but don’t mention them) that the Foreign Policy magazine have reviewed not very long ago (see Petropolitics). From my point of view, improving governance is the best way to solve all the problems and challenges of the “oil revenue windows”, but to do that in only 10 years in Turkmenistan looks impossible so this country is going to miss the oil revenue window for sure. But we should not forget that Turkmenistan is much richer in gas than oil, so fso according to Planete Energies, could spend 30 more years on its “gas revenue winidow”, a much better perspective.

    In a broader picture, tha Asian Develpment Bank just published an Energy Strategy working paper with some interesting conclusions:

    According to the International Energy Agency,
    primary energy demand in the developing Asia will grow from 2.9 billion tons of oil equivalent
    (btoe) in 2004 to 5.8 btoe in 2030. This growth is not sustainable if most of this energy will have
    to be met by fossil fuels.
    According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in the future, electrification level or
    access will rise over the projection period, but the total number of people remaining without
    electricity will fall only slightly, from 1.6 billion in 2002 to just under 1.4 billion in 2030. Most of
    the net decrease in the number of people without electricity will occur only after 2015. The levels of the electricity-deprived will fall in Asia, but will continue to increase in Africa.

    Reading reviews on "Japan Rising"

    Kenneth Pyle published last march the book Japan Rising, that has been very welcome for a wide range of the achademy. In Asia Times we can read a good review written by Sreeram Chaulia:

    Pyle deduces six persistent traits of Japan’s national style from its history. First is its attentiveness to maximizing power as a condition of survival in the world. Japan always allies itself with the dominant ascendant power, be it Britain, Germany or the US. Second, Japan is a pragmatic state with no great universal ideals or utopian visions. The conservative upper crust of Japanese leaders invariably rejects doctrinal approaches. Third, and most important, is Japan’s propensity to adapt to international conditions to offset its vulnerability. Its rulers always read the global “trend of the times” (jisei), not to change it but to move alongside it to their own national advantage.

    Fourth, modern Japan always pursues regional autonomy or hegemony through differing means. Policies such as diversifying energy suppliers and limiting foreign direct investment are designed to shield the economy from foreign dependence. Fifth, Japan best exemplifies the logic of swiftly copying the successful practices of the great powers such as China in pre-modern times and the West thereafter.

    The Japanese lack “barriers of cultural and religious self-absorption that impede learning from other civilizations” (…) What this implies is that Japan can never be a true hegemon that can spread its values and institutions to other states or multilateral organizations. It looks destined to remain a cautious adaptive power that receives more from the international system but gives less

    The Economist also reviewed it and highlighted that:

    By virtually any measure—trade, tourism, foreign students, immigration, cultural interchange—Japan is the least globalised of all the rich, industrialised democracies.

    And Michael Green in Foreign Affairs also reviews it:

    Pyle’s rich history offers an important corrective for those who believe that the future of Asian security can be assured through a bipolar U.S.-Chinese concert of power. Although increasingly aligned with the United States because of growing uncertainty about its external environment, Japan is an independent variable, and the Japanese elite will come to its own conclusions about how to safeguard Japan’s interests. A positive U.S.-Chinese relationship is in Japan’s national interest, but excessive U.S. accommodation of Chinese power at Japan’s expense will lead to increased hedging by Tokyo and a less predictable Asian security environment. (…) Despite Singaporean elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew’s famous warning to Washington that encouraging Japan to play a larger security role is like giving a former alcoholic a rum bonbon, Singapore is now at the forefront of efforts to expand Japan’s political and security role in Southeast Asia; Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand have followed suit. None of these nations — including Japan — is interested in “containing” China’s rise, but all are engaged in a curious mix of balancing and bandwagoning, and Tokyo is beginning to take advantage of that game.

    Joseph Nye also cites Pyle’s work in his last article in Project Syndicate, and it concludes:

    Japan has become more willing to use its power, and more aware of changes in the external balance of power. It is rising, but how? As one Japanese liberal commented to me, “this is our third response to globalization. What can we contribute this time?”

    After reading all these reviews I bought the book and I recived it today… I can’t hardly wait to start reading it. I promise to make my own review afterwards.

    Dutch Disease with Special Chinese Characteristics

    Excellent article by Gustav Ranis in YaleGlobal but from my point of view, more than a “dutch disease” it looks like a financial bubble, no one want to burst it, bc everybody is going to lose.

    In other words, this version of Dutch Disease is not caused by a natural-resource bonanza but massive labor-intensive exports plus large-scale capital imports, which affect not the exchange rate but the decision-making process. With enough resources around to buy off any and all stakeholders, incentives to push for reforms or pressure for care in lending and rational decision-making are reduced. (…)

    Such an unremitting avalanche of foreign exchange in the presence of a relatively fixed and undervalued exchange rate plus weak financial-sector institutions not only renders the central authorities incapable of restraining the continuing investment boom, but also encourages rent-seeking, corruption and rural unrest, all publicly lamented and hopefully beginning to be addressed.

    Momentum for reform is difficult if most important actors see little reason to overcome a comfortable state of inertia. Quite the opposite, the continued accumulation of reserves provides incentives for influence peddling and inefficient investment activity. (…)

    What emerges is the phenomenon of “crony socialism” or, as I’m sure Beijing would prefer, “Dutch Disease with Special Chinese Characteristics.”