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It has been centuries since the last discovery of a new continent. Yet something like this is happening today. Long before the voyages of exploration that began in the fifteenth century it was customary to speak of Europe and Asia as separate places divided from each other by a huge and forbidding territory.
This is now changing. Thanks to the collapse of the USSR, whose closed border stood like a wall across the heart of Eurasia, to China’s decision to open trade across its western border, and to the gradual return of Afghanistan to the community of nations, continental trade spanning the entire Eurasian land mass is again becoming possible. Western Europe, China, Russia, the Middle East, and the Indian sub-continent can, in time, connect with one another and with the lands between by means of direct roads, railroads, and technologies for transporting gas, oil, and hydroelectric power. These “new Silk Roads” have enormous potential for the entire Eurasian continent, and especially for the countries of “Greater Central Asia” which they must traverse.
This book, with contributions by eminent scholars from sixteen countries, reviews the state of the links of transport and trade that are bringing about this fundamental change on the world’s largest continent. It explores the potential of such interchange for fifteen of the countries most directly affected by it. It identifies some of the many impediments to the full realization of this epochal project. And it suggests a few steps that might be taken to ameliorate or remove these impediments.
S. Frederick Starr
Martina Reiser and Dennis DeTray
The Kyrgyz Republic
Joomart Otorbayev et. al.
Niklas Swanström, Nicklas Norling and Zhang Li
© 2007 Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program – A Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center
Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, 1619 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036; Institute for Security & Development Policy, V. Finnbodavagen 2, SE-13130 Stockholm, Sweden.