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Prognosis of the World Development between 2000 and 2030
VI. Forecast For The Years 2000-30 In Kazakhstan.
What could be the place of Kazakhstan in the above confrontation?
Until the present day it’s Russia that has been believed to pose the principal threat for Kazakhstan’s independence. I mean, of course, not that "democratic" and weak, USA-influenced Russia of nowadays, but rather a Russia of the nearest future, in case she wins back the battle for her own consolidation. If this happens, Russia could unite all of the ex-USSR space and change it into an empire already at the beginning of the twenty-first century (perhaps, shortly after the presidential elections of the year 2000).
Could Russia become a really serious threat for Kazakhstan’s independence? Between 2000 and 2010, she will be offered the "friendship" of China and have to accept it, weakened as she will be by ruinous policy of her another "friends" from the USA. The China of the 2000s will be concentrating not just on the reform of her inefficient state policy, but also on "conquering" Indo-China, Indonesia and Philippines. As a result, her relations with India and the United States will grow naturally colder, tempting the moderately anti-American regime in Russia turn to the Chinese for support against the U.S. This alliance, if formed, could relieve Kazakhstan’s anxiety, for, even if Russia still remembers her imperial past, the new ally wouldn’t let her start translating those ambitions into reality.
In the 2010s, the breaking of the friendship with China will heighten the insecurity in Russia. Now even her territorial integrity could be in danger, if it were not for China herself that will choose that very moment to openly confront India, making the terrified West promptly revise its Russian policy. In the West, it will be considered sensible to help Russia, instead of debilitating her economy and sacking her industrial resources (she has been using for cooperation with China) once and for all. Now the West will look at Russia as its new ally, a "firing line" in an undeclared war with the Chinese. By that time Russia will also be quite ready to accept Western help, at the expense of her "friendship" with China. From that moment, she will be gradually alienating from her southern neighbor.
By 2010, the sphere of Chinese vital interests will be including the Far East, Siberia and even the Ural region, as well as Kazakhstan and Central Asia. Kazakhstan may easily become a zone of dispute. However, by that time it will be ready to side with China, all the while pretending to be neutral. China will be moving through to Central Asia, in order to expand into the Middle East and the Caucasus afterwards, making Russia behave herself in view of Chinese presence in some 1000 km from Moscow.
By 2010, Kazakhstan will be already linked to China by hundreds of strong economic ties, such as heavy investing or joint economic programs. Till 2020, this close cooperation will be only helping Kazakhstan accelerate its economic reform. During that decade 70 percent of the value of raw materials and metals produced in Kazakhstan will be siphoned off into China. By 2020, the number of the Chinese working in Kazakhstan will increase from 300,000 to 700,000, in spite of strict immigration laws preventing them from settling for good. The Chinese in Kazakhstan will be employed mainly in the roadwork and industry, gradually forcing local ethnic Germans and Slavs out. The law will restrict their activities in trade and finances; however, by 2020, they will be already dominating in this field. China will also insist on deploying her military bases in Kazakhstan, but the government, supported by the U.S., will stand up to the pressure.
By 2030, Kazakhstan will have already realized that its position between two superpowers allows him to strengthen its sovereignty, but threatens its economic and diplomatic independence. It will try to improve the matter by swinging back to Russia’s alliance and opening the doors for European capital. These measures will encounter strong Chinese opposition. As a result, Kazakhstan will have to choose between splitting up into two parts - the North and the South - or going back to pro-Chinese policy.
The government will be wise enough to choose the second. Some years later, it will successfully use the help of Russia, Turkey and "Atlantist" nations to make China loosen its grip. After 2028, several multinational treaties will be signed, fixing alliances and stabilizing relations between China, on one part, and Russia, the U.S. and Europe, on the another. New political environment will call forth a constantly increasing flow of loads, people and information across the territory of Kazakhstan. This kind of a revived "Great Silk Road" will be bringing more income and investments into Kazakhstan by 2035 than all the oil-, gas- and ore-extracting industries put together.
However, conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, as well as a dispute over Siberia and the Far East, may intensify tensions between Europe (including Russia) and China to the degree, when a war inspired by the Chinese breaks out in Central Asia. All the neighboring nations - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and probably, China and Russia - may be driven into this conflict, the war menacing both independence and integrity of Kazakhstan. However, it was made clear from the previous chapter that a war at this stage could only play at China’s disadvantage. That’s why I don’t think the possibility of what I described above is very high.
At any rate, if Kazakhstan manages not to get itself enmeshed into a civil or military conflict between 2000 and 2030, it may easily become an advanced Asian-European nation by 2030, contrasting with the Eurasian character of Russia. Kazakhstan will fully reap benefits from its geopolitical and geographical setting, its per capita GDP $9,000 - 10,000 (in terms of 1999) matching those of Russia and China. By 2030, it will get out of Russia’s hand and within the reach of China, deliberately agreeing to be dependent from the latter. Afterwards, it will never use any possibility to win back its status of a neutral nation, or counterbalance China’s grip with an equally strong influence of Russia, the U.S., Japan, or Europe. It will not benefit from tensions between Russia and China during the 2010s, liking better dependence from China than latent "Russian threat". Anything that comes from China will become a vogue in Kazakhstan, a kind of second ideology for the Kazakh elite. In return, China will put high stakes on ideological alliance with the Muslim world and Turkic nations against the "Atlantists".
However, already in the 2020s Kazakhstan will feel bitterly the restraints coming from so profitable a cooperation with China, and try to improve its relations with quickly europeanizing Russia. It will succeed only in part, being by that time too important a part of the China’s sphere of interest to be let go easily. Russia, for the sake of her eastern boundaries’ security, would rather not confront China in this matter. Therefore, it’s only the policy carried on by the Kazakhstan’s government in the 2020s that will be braking the growth of Chinese influence in the region and strengthening positions of the West.
Between 2000 and 2020, democracy in Kazakhstan will evolve into an authoritarian regime that will limit the role of parliament to giving advisory opinions. At the same time the judiciary will be necessary strengthened and made quite efficient due to further evolution of capitalism, between 2010 and 2020. In another ten years a "breakthrough in democracy" will revive the parliament and political parties.
In the next century the ethnic composition of Kazakhstan’s society will be changing, the percentage of ethnic Kazakhs rising from 50 to 67 percent. Legal Chinese immigrants will make about 4 percent of the population. Between 2020 and 2030 Kazakhstan will find its unique own as an urbanized country, with inimitable architectural style, excellent roads, beautiful leisure zones famous through neighboring countries and especially popular with the Russian and Chinese, with strong offshore businesses and so on. Astana, the capital, will develop at a speedy pace, turning finally into a multilingual, modern, splendid Babylon with the population reaching one million people.
© Dmitry Alemasov
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