Turkmenistan

Central Asia is a critical crossroads: Trump administration must keep the U.S. a player in the region
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Central Asia is a critical crossroads: Trump administration must keep the U.S. a player in the region

Developing a new strategic approach to Central Asia is probably at the bottom of the Trump administration's foreign policy inbox. Not so in Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, Kabul, Tokyo, Ankara and Brussels. This region, made up of the five "stans," is rapidly becoming an area of economic cooperation and strategic competition among America's friends and foes alike in what some have called a modern version of the 19th Century Great Game. The region sits squarely in the middle of the Eurasia heartland. It is time for the United States to pay attention.

Central Asia is progressing in UN Human Development Index
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Central Asia is progressing in UN Human Development Index

Despite many challenges, it seems some measure of progress is being made across Central Asia. In numerous international metrics systems, the states of Central Asia often trend together toward the lower rungs of the rankings. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, for instance, sees all five Central Asian states come in among the bottom third globally. Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index, meanwhile, sees only Kyrgyzstan land within the top 100 nations, and only North Korea and Eritrea scoring worse than Turkmenistan.