With the planned US and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 looming ever closer, and Central Asia’s own future increasingly in doubt, major powers are all competing to enhance their influence in Central Asia. 2014 may mark a regional tipping point, but none can accurately predict how the regional balance might shift after the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan. During 2009–2010, the signs of growing Russian dependence on China in terms of economy and energy were palpable, as were the signs of China successfully subordinating Russia to its Central Asian economic agenda. In 2011–2012, it was difficult to see Russia simply acquiescing in its subordination to China without reacting to that situation negatively. Since 2011, to avoid this dependence on China, Russia has vigorously pushed for its regional integration schemes. 2011 marked the launch of the US “New Silk Road” initiative. Great power regional integration schemes, however, undermine both regional and national development.

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