First of all, the research project is finished! It will take me some time to format it properly for the blog and it will also affect future posts since I do not care to post the same material twice. 

After spending the past few months contemplating Mackinder, Spykman, and Huntington I can’t help but notice their influence in analysis of foreign policy. My mentor on the project smirked when I said it, but every time I hear an analyst, president or foreign minister/secretary of state use the term ‘pivot’ I can’t help but to think of Mackinder. Had the most influential piece of geopolitical theory not been nicknamed ‘Mackinder’s Pivot’ then I would discard it as well but I do actually believe that the ubiquitous use of the term today is directly related to this work.

So, when I read Colin Hallinan’s article on U.S. Foreign Policy on Central and South Asia the first paragraph reminded me of the type of historical perspective and global context that Mackinder provided in his work and that I find myself wont to do when explaining the strategic importance of this region. This is where the Mackinder parallels end. Hallinan advocates an end to operations in the region and recalls the often cited phrase identifying Afghanistan as being “the graveyard of empires.”

Josh Kucera of EurasiaNet.org is one of the most productive sources of Central Asian news as it relates to U.S. foreign policy and he addresses an issue that I struggled with during my research for Defining Geopolitics: What is China’s policy driver in Central Asia? He published the same day my paper was due and it’s nice to see essentially the same conclusion being drawn concerning the Xinjiang province.

Washington’s Asian pivot has been in full swing for about a year and Peter Lee agree’s that it looks a lot like containment. In this article he identifies a number of potential flashpoints in U.S.-Chinese relations as well as this passage that really made me consider the possibility of a Chinese-led international order in the next thirty years or so:

With the United States firmly back in the leadership saddle, at least as far as the foreign affairs commentariat is concerned, China has nothing to show the world except the flaws of an authoritarian political and economic system, nothing to teach except as an object lesson in how to avoid them, and no right to participate in any world leadership councils except by Western sufferance.

There have also been a number of items addressing the 2014 withdrawal as of late. The Jamestown Foundation is always a great source of news and analysis on Central Asia and Georgiy Voloshin calls for more mutilateral diplomacy among the five republics  for this period. He believes that stability in the region will not be at the hands of the U.S.

Walter Pincus of the Washington Post identifies the staggering cost of the 2014 withdrawal as well as the issue of the supply routes that the GAO noted as a “complex geopolitical environment in the region.” Kucera identifies the necessary level of shipments needed to complete the withdrawal as well as the level of containers that will travel through Central Asia.

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