Drawing the authoritarian Central Asian states westward is not easy, but engagement is a better tactic than isolation. Especially when the nations indicate that they want to be part of the West.
With Europe in recession, the East will face continued tough times. However, even today some countries and some companies are doing well. With the right policies, the region can prosper in spite of the West’s difficulties.
Countries in Central and Eastern Europe are well-positioned to benefit from a new wave of outsourcing and datacenter development. Over time the former Soviet states could create their own mini-Silicon Valleys.
The Financial Times reports that a few funds are balancing remaining corruption issues with Baku’s reform programs and the enormous financial liftoff the country has experienced for the last decade and more.
Anything that breaks Gazprom’s stranglehold over Europe’s natural gas supply — and alleviates Ukrainian suffering — is a positive thing for European energy security, and security in general.
All of these nations would benefit from a substantial dose of freedom. The peoples of Central Asia will flourish once they are able to take charge of their respective economic and political destinies.
The Eurozone continues to go from bad to worse. Greece may be on its way out. Spain wants a bank bail-out. Buried amongst this depressing cascade of impending catastrophe is some good news. The Baltic States have demonstrated the art of economic reform.
Despite perceived “exhaustion” among some member states, expansion should proceed Eastward, most obviously to Georgia and Ukraine.
Turkmenistan is, by any measure, one of the worst dictatorships on Earth. Now is not the time to use enriching its political class as a tool to bring Turkmenistan kicking and screaming into the nineteenth century.
Estonia, like the rest of the Baltics, suffered terribly after the Soviet invasion. Like its Baltic neighbors, it took the chance at independence after Moscow loosened its grip and has made a hard charge West, never looking back.