The bulk of work on this volume was undertaken as a visiting professor in 2007–08 at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Post-Soviet Central Asia might be one of the world's best – and worst – places to think about regionalism. Central Asia's inconsistent border regimes, cross-border communities, and resource interdependencies are just some of the foundational challenges that should encourage, even demand, regional cooperation, let alone the institutionalised regional integration now evident in so many parts of the globe. ‘Regional cooperation’ is also a term used by the many, and unalike, representatives of international actors from outside the region to label their interactions with it. Central Asian regional cooperation tends, however, to be more declaratorily than substantial. In addition, the constituent states belong to a considerable series of overlapping formal regional inter-state bodies, but ones that are functionally, even ideationally, divergent, without being mutually supportive.
That ‘regions’ count in world politics is clear; but establishing what we know, and how we know it constitutes a different, and deeply complex, matter. Hopefully this collection gives some illustration and substance to these increasingly important questions in the study and practice of world politics.
Many people were on hand, either in person on virtually, through the year to facilitate the volume, and when extremes of Central Asia's weather ranged from – 30°C (in the coldest winter for six decades) to summer temperatures that climbed into the 40°Cs.