CASI RESEARCH SEMINAR: The Complementary Normative Effects in Central Asia of the U.S.-led Global War on Terror  and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
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CASI RESEARCH SEMINAR: The Complementary Normative Effects in Central Asia of the U.S.-led Global War on Terror and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

March 9, 2016

March 9, 2016

SPEAKER: William Beacom, Princeton University, Global Scholar, CASI Visiting Scholar

DISCUSSANT: Emil Zhuraev, Associate Professor, ICP

William Beacom discussed how the overlapping and complementary normative effects of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) enable Central Asian states to frame political dissent and Islam as global security threats (macrosecuritization). This contrasts with prior studies that focus on single domestic or international explanations for securitization in Central Asia. Employing statistical analysis of UNGA voting ideal points and process tracing of key domestic and foreign policy events, he argued that these twin macrosecuritizations -- GWOT and SCO -- have collectively enabled a regional normative shift away from “the West”. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization institutionalized and consolidated illiberal and anti-West norms, while the normative contradictions of the Global War on Terror encouraged Central Asian states to adopt these norms counter to “Western” liberal rhetoric. Based on official responses to select cases of unrest, he described two “speech-act” macrosecuritization dynamics: Firstly, Central Asian states strategically employ the normative language of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to bolster state legitimacy. Secondly, they sometimes construe Western support for religious liberty and democracy as a hypocritical conspiracy to promote religious extremism. This presentation therefore addressed, in part, two major unresolved facets of the macrosecuiritzation literature as it pertains to Central Asia: whether the Global War on Terror is durable as a macrosecuritizing force; and how the Global War on Terror interacts with macrosecuritizations led by other powers.

Bio: William Beacom is a researcher of Chinese influence in Central Asia. He recently graduated from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, where his thesis explored Chinese norm-setting in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. As a Princeton University Dan M. Sachs Global Scholar, his research continues to examine the normative, political and economic role China plays in Central Asia amid great power competition. William’s other interests include Canadian trade and foriegn policy and Chinese modern intellectual thought. He enjoys exploring the outdoors of Central Asia by backcountry skiing and mountain biking.

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