chapter  13
10 Pages

Greater Central Asia

China, Russia or multilateralism?
WithNiklas Swanström

Greater Central Asia (GCA), defined here as encompassing the five Central Asian republics, Afghanistan, and western China (Xinjiang and Tibet), formed a coherent and interconnected sub-region for millennia, until the establishment of the Soviet Union and its borders destroyed the old trade and cultural routes. Indeed, the region was not only witness to impressive levels of trade and cultural exchanges, but also military and political competition that had ramifications far beyond the region. Today, something similar to the old GCA region is being reconstituted after a brief interlude (seen from a historical perspective) and it has once again become a locus for great power competition.