Driven by increasing energy profits, Kazakhstan is looking to secure energy transit, encourage foreign investment, and boost Kazakh influence over regional geopolitical developments, writes Joanne Lillis (EurasiaNet) in this Transitions Online Analysis.
Lillis argues that whereas previous foreign policy was based on the maintenance of links with all great or regional powers interested in Kazakhstan, the new approach also pursues policies toward smaller countries, including its neighbours.
However, the author doubts whether current conditions are conducive to the formation of a regional economic bloc, indicating that Central Asian states are neither ready for further integration, nor cooperation.
With Kazakhstan already committed to the U.S.-backed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Atasu-Alashankou route to China, President Nazarbaev has adopted a calculated, pragmatic approach to foreign policy, says Lillis. He is acting solely in the interests of Kazakhstan and its economy, she concludes.