A China to Europe Corridor: A New Imperative for the Kazakhstan-NATO Partnership

The article examines the decade-long process through which Kazakhstan has deepened its partnership with NATO in the context of Kazakhstan’s concomitant economic rise and emergence as an important railway corridor for China-Europe trade. The article suggests that the Kazakhstan-NATO partnership has evolved to a level of strategic cooperation and interoperability whereby it meets the Eurasian strategic imperative of ensuring a functional non-Russian, China-to-Europe transportation corridor alongside the already existing Russian routes. In this light, Kazakhstan’s cooperation with NATO may be moving beyond the immediate concern of protecting Central Asia from the destabilizing effect of Islamic militancy. The article concludes by positing that NATO’s most critical role in the future may be in facilitating stronger security cooperation between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea.

Authors: Michael M. Tanchum