According to CLOTHINGEXPRESS, Uzbekistan is a state of central-western Asia, bordered to the NW with Kazakhstan, to the East with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, to the South with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
Extended for about 1500 km in a NW-SE direction, from the shores of the Aral Sea to the western slopes of the Alaj massif, the territory of the Uzbekistan it can be divided into two sections from a geomorphological and climatic point of view. In the central-western part, the Qoraqalpog´iston plain (Karakalpaki) – which surrounds the Aral Sea – and the Kyzylkum steppe are characterized by an arid continental climate, with strong annual temperature variations, scarce rainfall and violent winds. The Amudar’ja River, which marks the border with Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, separates the steppe area from the Karakum desert plateau to the South, and the Ustjurt Desert to the West. the reliefs of the Tian Shan, the Alai and the Pamir they give rise to vast glaciers that feed a hydrographic system essentially articulated on three river basins: that of Amudar’ja, that of Syrdar’ja and that of Zeravšan. The latter gives rise, in the Samarkand plain, to numerous canals which make an area of about 500,000 hectares fertile. The Syrdar’ja, on the other hand, bathes the Fergana valley, the most fertile and populous area of the country. In the river valleys and on the mountain slopes, the continentality of the climate is attenuated, rainfall increases and the vegetation becomes much more diversified. The surface of the Aral Sea has dramatically reduced due to the strong withdrawals to which the two main tributaries, the Amudar’ja and the Syrdar’ja, are subjected.
Mackinder and Uzbek geopolitics
In 1904 Halford Mackinder, a British geographer, presented an essay entitled The Geographical Pivot of History to the Royal Geographic Society(The geographical pivot of the story). In his debut, Mackinder decreed the conclusion of the long era of geographical discoveries that marked the end of the division of the world between the colonial powers: the international political system had therefore closed again, but unlike the pre-1492 era, it no longer included only Europe and neighboring players, but rather the entire globe. The great powers therefore had no choice but to contend for spaces already occupied: wherever it took place, territorial expansion thus became a zero-sum game. Mackinder imagined a world in which power was unevenly distributed in space, according to macro-geographic criteria. He therefore postulated the existence of a ‘geographical pivot’, that is, a region of the world which, by hosting a disproportionate amount of raw materials inaccessible to maritime powers, it would have given the continental power that had managed to control it an unbridgeable potential advantage over those excluded. On the other hand, the advancement of railway systems would have made it possible to make this advantage effective, overturning the gap in the control of communication routes, hitherto the prerogative of the maritime powers, in favor of the continental powers. Mackinder’s geopolitical theory thus flattened the strategy on geography: each area of the world occupied a certain strategic importance as a consequence of its position in space. To identify the ‘geographical pivot’ of the world Mackinder concentrated on Eurasia: the areas that would make it up would be Eastern Europe, the Russian hinterland and Central Asia, heterogeneous but contiguous regions, which a few years later he himself will indicate with the common name of ‘Heartland’. Then followed areas arranged concentrically with respect to the Heartland, of decreasing importance in measure of their distance from the ‘heart’ of the world-system. Mackinder’s essay, although the subject of strong criticism, since the date of its publication has rapidly garnered widespread acclaim among European and world academics, politicians and military strategists, and is today considered one of the cornerstones of geopolitical theory. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the intellectual and military elites in Uzbekistan have initiated a real rediscovery and actualization of the theoretical legacy of the English geographer. The dusting off of his theses, more than a century old, however, it appears more instrumental than real. It is useful, first of all, to cloak Uzbek foreign policy in classicism and to simplify its objectives into a few, simple maxims – first of all that which requires groped to impose one’s hegemony, if not political at least cultural, on a region rich in resources natural and today fundamental for both Moscow and Beijing. Secondly, functional to procrastinate the myth of the global relevance of a region, that of Central Asia, which the United States of the Bush era itself looked at with limited interest, focusing rather – and for reasons that are not only or not so geopolitical – over a nearby but remarkably different area, namely that South Asia which embraces Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.