Daniyar Kosnazarov: “tensions in Asia-Pacific now does not create so much optimism.”

Daniyar Kosnazarov (photo from personal archive)
Daniyar Kosnazarov (photo from personal archive)

Head of Central Asia and Caspian Region Studies – Analytical Complex of the Library of the First President of Kazakhstan, Dr. Daniyar Kasnazarov answered questions about Silk Road project of China and its impact over the region.

Thank you for sharing your time Dr.Daniyar.

There are some important questions regarding the latest updates in Silk Road project, about its geopolitical importance in the region.

  1. According to the latest news, China will invest nearly $900 billion in economic corridors along the mega Silk Road and Maritime Silk Road initiatives with funds including from the newly-floated AIIB bank, how would you estimate the role of AIIB Bank as a potential future economic mean in the world?

The establishment of AIIB indicates that China 1) has not been satisfied with postponement of IMF reforms, which does not mean that Beijing wants to totally undermine Bretton-Woods system. 2) China is s ready to become a global power with institutionalized basis. Beijing through multilateral means wants to ‘legalize’ its own relations with others. 3) Infrastructure development is crucial for each state that is why Beijing assumes that it would not create new tensions or misunderstandings.

  1. The project aims at no less than a revolutionary change in the economic map of the world. It is also seen by many as the first shot in a battle between east and west for dominance in Eurasia. In your judgement – how will global powers react to such a crucial attempt?

Well, there is certainly a lot of risk that if US and China will not agree on many critical economic and political issues, their competition or even confrontation could affect us as well. There is also certainly a huge need for a ‘big deal’ between US and China as they are part of one global economy, which brought a tremendous amount of wealth for both of them. But history tells us that clash between hegemonic power and challenger is inevitable and tensions in Asia-Pacific now does not create so much optimism. However, both states continue to raise the stakes and increase their bargaining power, which could also mean that both powers are preparing themselves to sit on the table.

  1. 12 NATO countries yet are among member states of AIIB bank, U.S closest allies in the East – South Korea, New Zealand, Australia as well. Why did U.S fail to persuade its allies against joining the structure?

Well, I think it is not the failure of US, but economic interests of these 12 NATO powers which brought them to AIIB. In terms of security they are still committed allies of Washington. The world is not divided into blocs, at least today, and everyone wants to benefit from interdependence. You could not ignore China and actually China could not ignore others. Even if you have grievances, you can’t just shut the door and cut all the relationships.

  1. What is the U.S. vision for the New Silk Road?

I think many things will depend on the next US president. Some observers argue that Hillary Clinton could become a president after Barack Obama. When she was a Secretary of State she declared New Silk Road strategy (2011). Let us wait and see what will happen if Clinton will be elected. However, some progress has been made in developing CASA-1000.