Had an opportunity to host a podcast for the The Diplomat Magazine on Turmenistan Neutality – the Geopolotics of which are particularly interesting to consider given its strategic gas and oil reserves, border disputes with Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, and regional actors including CSO and NATO different interests in preserving and or undermining the policy. Joining me for this podcast is Bradley Jardine who contends that the policy of neutrality is as much outwardly looking as it is inward – designed to protect the regime from external influence. Have a listen on The Diplomat’s website. Here’s their description:
“Turkmenistan is unusual because, unlike the other states in Central Asia, which draw their post-Soviet identities from historical figures and events; Turkmenistan’s is constructed around the achievements of the regime, and particularly, the figure of the President.”- Bradley Jardine
Since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkmenistan has occupied an obscure position in the international system. On December 12, 1995 it was granted the status of “permanent neutrality” by the UN. This year is very important for the Central Asian state as it marks the 20th anniversary of the official designation.
In this guest podcast, Ryan McCarrel and Bradley Jardine discuss contemporary Turkmenistan as an outlier case, in contrast to the historical context of neutrality in Europe and Scandinavia. McCarrel and Jardine asses the aim of Ashgabat’s policy of “positive neutrality,” its significance for the country’s foreign relations, and especially, its use as a mechanism of authoritarian entrenchment for a brutal elite.
The podcast is hosted by Ryan McCarrel, a PhD candidate at the University of Dublin, where he researches the geopolitics of military alliances, and hosts the Accidental Geographer Podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @ryanmccarrel
Joining the discussion is Bradley Jardine, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Glasgow, and regular contributor at The Diplomat’s Crossroads Asia blog. Twitter: @jardine_bradley