Another great week at The Diplomat. The best part was meeting my colleagues, and an honored alum, for drinks at the end of the week. We don’t have an office so actually meeting my co-workers is a rare pleasure.
About to get in deep on Magazine Issue 8 next week. I’m very excited about this one–the cover is going to be by August Cole & Peter Singer, it’s going to be fantastic.
Without further chatter, last week’s Central Asia news today:
- Kyrgyzstan’s gold mine is a headache the size of a glacier, literally.
- Will all regional roads eventually lead to China? Perhaps, but there’s still some significant suspicion.
- UN SecGen Ban Ki-moon was in all five Central Asian states last week.
- Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan took three months to negotiate the price of Tajik electricity for the summer. It’s now 2.5 cents per kWh. (up from 2.0 last summer).
- Kazakhstan finished negotiations to join the WTO almost 20 years after beginning them.
- Europe is unveiling a new Central Asia strategy (its last was in 2007), reportedly will place more focus on human rights.
- Some great podcasts this week worth listening to, and an article on fishing the Aral sea.
And I wrote a little in other sections this week as well!
- Russia is in on the disputed island game in Asia too. Defense minister announced plans to accelerate development on the Kurils, which are disputed by Japan. Japan’s PM was in Ukraine last week and then in Germany for the G7, getting chummy with Europe & the US.
- Will Almaty be “Keeping it Real” for the 2022 Winter Olympics or will Beijing prove to be a “Joyful Rendezvous upon Pure Ice and Snow”?
I also wrote an opinion piece picking apart Ahmed Rashid’s recent NYT op-ed about jihad’s next frontier, which is apparently Tajikistan. Rashid’s alarmism is astounding and his factual errors embarrassing.
I wasn’t alone in saying that Tajikistan has 99 problems but extremism isn’t anywhere near the worst. Edward Lemon, who specifically researches Tajik foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, is as skeptical as I am. Reid Standish pointed out in Foreign Policy that Russia hypes the threat too.