This paper comprises three sections. Firstly it introduces the states of Central Asia and outlines their rather dismal record on regionalism. It then assesses the donor-driven promotion of regional cooperation, describing the mismatch between the interests of national players and external strategists. Finally, it proceeds to outline the roles of regional organisations and the increasing perception of geopolitics behind their development. The paper argues that:
A region cannot be prescribed from outside without genuine incentives coming from within, and regional organisations can only do so much in fostering this
The resolution of bi-lateral political problems is a precondition for the advancement of regionalism rather than a means to achieve it. It is unrealistic to expect regional cooperation to become a conflict prevention tool
In reality, regional cooperation is more likely to take place on an ad hoc basis over areas of common concern, concentrating on challenges and on a negative agenda, rather than pro-actively advancing some positive vision.
The Regionalist Project in Central Asia: unwilling playmates, Working Paper No. 13 (series 2), 2007, London, UK; Crisis States Research Centre, 24 pp.