Under the authoritarian regime of Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan has achieved independence and stability by exploiting its natural resources through a strategy of “staple globalism” and by balancing the great powers against each other. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the new regime first distanced itself from Russia and tried regional alliances, then accepted help from NATO, and most recently turned cautiously to Russia (and China). Throughout, Uzbekistan has managed to receive considerable assistance from international agencies and military aid from several outside powers, albeit relatively little private foreign investment, owing to its poor business climate. The country has also handled potential conflicts with neighbors without significant violence.

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