Kazakhstan's Old Silk Road Legacy
According to a 28 year old single female in law, she observes the Old Silk Road from a Kazakh’s point of view: “With recent developments, Kazakhstan took the leading role in the Central Asia region. However, this region is jammed between such powers like Russia and China. Therefore, it is imperative for Kazakhstan to use momentum and develop itself to be among developed countries for the following couple of decades so we become politically and economically independent from our gigantic neighbors. For this purpose, it is necessary to improve our legal system and legislation so that it allows our economy to grow fast in the most efficient way.”
Unfortunately, the Kazakhs need better laws to deal with illegal drug activity that continues to hamper their growth as a viable nation. According to an ambitious 41 year old married female in Public Health, she wrote the following: “Today Kazakhstan is facing national drug abuse problem, Aktobe is situated at the crossroads of automobile, rail and air traffic from Asia to Europe. Illegal narcotics make their way through Aktobe from such places as Afghanistan and Pakistan to Russia, Ukraine and other countries further west. There are drug-related health consequences. According to the Kazakhstan Republic AIDS Center, over 5,000 people are infected with HIV. 80 per cent of those who carry HIV/AIDs are drug addicts.” Another 30 year old single male in Public Health confirmed the report about “Kazakhstan is one of the endemic HIV/AIDS regions in the world. We have about 5,000 registered HIV cases, with more than 250 people living with AIDS.”
Fortunately, Kazakhstan’s economic development is based on natural resources such as oil and gas in an independent country four or five times the size of Texas. The Kazakhs are also blessed to have seas and lakes. A 45 year old female in environmental studies said she was born and raised next to Lake Baikal in the Zhetysu region which has huge tourism potential. A lawyer who is 27 years old wrote the following of her origins: “I live in Aktau – a small but rapidly growing town located on the Caspian Sea shore and referred to as an international seaport. Due to the oilfield development in the north part of the Caspian Sea, there are many national and international companies supporting oilfield operations and engaged in transportation of cargo and personnel to the offshore oilrigs.
Another similarity with Texas is that Kazakhstan has their own Houston NASA launch site. A 34 year old Kazakh male journalist proudly noted the Soviets had their first manned flight into space in 1960. The Baikonur launch site is located in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is rich with their geography and natural resources and a 24 year old single female in International Affairs noted: “Nowadays there is a plethora of multi-ethnic states on our planet. In particular, Kazakhstan has representatives from more than 100 nationalities, which succeeded “to practice tolerance and live in peace with one another as good neighbors.”
“To practice tolerance” is an old Soviet concept to live in peaceful co-existence with other nationalities and is embedded in the United Nations Charter. I believe that Kazakhstan is also rich in human resources as our best candidate of all the 53 candidates we interviewed for the Muskie MA program was another 24 year old single female from International Relations. She has already experienced Chinese culture and its “deep culture” along with reporting on the “Andijan events” with radical Islam and Uzbekistan’s conflicts. Kazakhstan will survive with their young, bright students who continue to solve Kazakhstan’s international-scale problems encountered on the Old Silk Road.