Video – Soft Power in Central Asia: The Politics of Influence and Seduction
A virtual event hosted by the Central Asia Program at the George Washington University on November 3, 2021.
Since the breakup of the Eastern bloc, Central Asia has been analyzed primarily through the prism of hard power and the great powers’ geopolitical and geostrategic games in the region. Yet, forging long-term relationships with each of the Central Asian states may require less the stick of military or economic coercion than the carrot of convincing them of the win-win essence of engagement. Foreign actors cannot afford to ignore the hearts and minds of the local population, nor assume the sustainability of relations with Central Asian countries based on the alleged ability of authoritarian regimes to control their populations and implement foreign policies bypassing society. Moreover, governments and people in Central Asia are not passive objects of the politics of seduction. The region’s governments act as moderators and gatekeepers, while Central Asians are aware of, discuss and reflect upon soft power, and exercise agency accepting or resisting it.
This event will examine the soft power’s patterns of attraction and persuasion that help shape the political choices of countries in the region. It will bring together several contributors to an edited volume, Soft Power in Central Asia, The Politics of Influence and Seduction, edited by Kirill Nourzhanov and Sebastien Peyrouse. The panelists will discuss how foreign actors, geographically close or distant, powerful or more modest, engage in soft power projection, and how recipients in the region respond to it.
10:15-11:15: Soft Power Projection in Central Asia: The United States, Russia, China and Turkey.
Chair: Karolina Kluczewska (Ghent University)
Panelists: Vincent Artman (Wayne State University), Kirill Nourzhanov (Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University), Murat Yurtbilir (Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University), Sebastien Peyrouse (Central Asia Program, GWU)
11:15-12:15: Between Attraction and Fear. How Recipient Countries Welcome, Frame, or Resist Soft Power
Chair: Dilnoza Ubaydullaeva (Australian National University)
Panelists: Aminat Chokobaeva (Nazarbayev University), Reuel R. Hanks (Oklahoma State University), Karolina Kluczewska (Ghent University), Payam Foroughi (independent scholar).