Israel and its Eastern Mediterranean neighbors find themselves in a new geopolitical reality as the Atlantic Order ceases to be the predominant framework in which the regions relations are conducted.
With the weakening bloc led by the United States and its European allies ceding ground in the region to an emerging Eurasian order led by China and Russia, Eastern Mediterranean nations could benefit from examining how Kazakhstan attempts to constructively influence the developing economic and strategic contours of the new Eurasia.
Spanning the western border of China and the eastern borders of European Russia and the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan like the Eastern Mediterranean forms a vital geo-economic link between Europe and Asia.
However, in contrast to the Eastern Mediterranean nations, a central feature of Kazakhstans foreign policy is the consistent promotion of a futurist vision for Eurasia based on consensus-building, multi-lateral cooperation and sustainable development. To this end, Kazakhstan has hosted four major international events in 2017 The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, Expo 2017, the Astana Economic Forum and the Eurasian Media Forum.
This author participated as a delegate to the 14th Eurasian Media Forum in late June and witnessed the impressive array of high government officials and leading figures from the fields of business, hi-tech and media that were gathered to examine the challenges for Eurasia and the opportunities for creating a more prosperous, stable and sustainable future.
Reflective of the strong Kazakh-Israeli relationship, the agenda of the Eurasian Media Forum treated Israel as an important Eurasian actor whose voice should be heard.
The forum was initiated by Dr. Dariga Nazarbayeva, a political scientist and the daughter of Kazakhstans President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who himself is the architect of Kazakhstans multi-vectored foreign policy a careful three-way balancing among Russia, China, and the Western powers, mainly the European Union and the United States that has contributed to maintaining a certain great-power equilibrium in Central Asia and helped foster Kazakhstans economic rise to the ranks of an upper middle income nation.
Held in the Kazakhstani capital Astana with more than 600 delegates participating from over 60 nations, the Eurasian Media Forum brought together persons from varying ethnic, religious and political perspectives, modeling a process for civil and rational dialogue among actors with conflicting interests.
Conducted in the style of the Davos World Economic Forum, the opening plenary session addressed the macro political trends affecting the future of the Eurasian landmass.
The composition of the panel itself was indicative of the importance which Kazakhstan places on Israels role in Eurasia. Sharing the panel with former Turkish president Abdullah Gul, Jose Manuel Barroso, the previous president of the EUs governing body, the European Commission and former US ambassador to the UN Governor Bill Richardson was Gilead Sher, chief of staff and policy coordinator for the government of prime minister Ehud Barak, known for his role as a senior peace negotiator, including during the Taba talks.
The panels major theme, as framed by Turkeys former president, was the dangers posed by various forms of populism and the need for governments as well as multi-lateral organizations to be more responsive to the needs and concerns of local populations.
Shers contribution highlighted the need to better understand the growing disruptive role of non-state actors and was well received.
The panel at the forum that focused specifically on the Syrian crisis, while including an Iranian speaker did not include an Israeli speaker. However, through his participation as a delegate, Sher put forward an Israeli position on the crisis. When one of the participating delegates responded to Shers comments on Israels provision of humanitarian aid in Syria by attempting to impugn Israels role with a disingenuous narrative, one of the panels speakers, investigative journalist Shahida Tulaganova, effectively countered the delegates propagandistic grandstanding, which itself was something out of character for the forum.
Known for her eyewitness documenting of the Syrian civil war in the recent award-winning film Cries from Syria, Tulaganova provided her own personal testimony about Israels constructive humanitarian role. The panels ability to stay on track with a rigorous debate was reflective of the conference organizers overall effort to promote balanced dialogue.
Beyond the factor of geopolitics, the forum considered the future of Eurasia from a variety of analytical vantage points including: the sustainability of the Asian Economic Miracle and the prospect of greater commercial integration between Europe and Asia; how green energy may be effectively harnessed for sustainable economic development; the impact of emerging trends in digital technology on international commerce, intellectual property, global media and the security of the international financial system.
Just as Israels exhibition at Expo 2017, held concurrently in Astana, proved to be one of the most well received exhibitions, Israel was regarded in the panels and the delegate discussions as a leading-edge innovator, contributing solutions in several of these fields.
The importance for Israel of developing a robust Eurasian policy perspective cannot be overemphasized.
Already the EUs trade with Asia has surpassed the volume of trade conducted between EU and North America. Chinas Belt and Road Initiative from Beijings ownership and operation of the EUs fastest growing port in Piraeus, Greece to its construction of Egypts new capital is serving to integrate the Eastern Mediterranean region into an economically rational Eurasian order. Similarly, through its new military and energy partnerships, Russia has re-emerged as a major actor in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.
To this end, Kazakhstan can serve both as an exemplar and partner. Astana is one of Beijings key partners in developing road and high-speed rail routes to create overland commercial connectivity with Europe (the belt in the Belt and Road Initiative). Likewise, the former Soviet republic maintains a strong relationship with Moscow. Nonetheless, Kazakhstan has successfully rebalanced Westwards, offsetting the threat of Russian hard power and of Chinese soft power by deepening its security cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and economic cooperation with the EU. In 2017, Kazakhstan became one the 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Israel was one of the first nations to recognize Kazakhstans independence in 1991. On the occasion of the countrys 25th anniversary as an independent state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the first acting Israeli prime minister to visit Kazakhstan. Netanyahus visit reflected the importance of the bilateral relations that have developed between the two nations. However, there is much more work to be done. As Israels ambassador to Kazakhstan, Michael Brodsky, has pointed out there is great potential for Israel and Kazakhstan to expand their cooperation in the fields of agriculture, healthcare, telecommunications, security and renewable energy to reach a level of strategic partnership.
Israel needs to craft a strategic vision for securing its place in the emerging Eurasian order. With a population of only 18 million, Kazakhstan has managed to use its strategic assets to become an active player in setting the agenda along with the major powers.
As was abundantly clear from Kazakhstans 14th Eurasian Media Forum, Israels has an important place in Kazakhstans futurist vision of Eurasia. Israel should engage Kazakhstans vision as well as learn lessons from that vision as Israel starts to develop its own discourse on Eurasia.
The author is a fellow in the Middle East and Asia Units at the Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Share on facebook
- Predictions for the 2020s, From a Futurist, a Trend Forecaster and an Astrologer - Vogue - January 18th, 2020
- Tullio Crali: A Futurist Life review a head-on revelation - The Guardian - January 18th, 2020
- Meet the futurist with 2020 vision - Sydney Morning Herald - January 18th, 2020
- These Researchers Want You to Live In a Fungus Megastructure - Futurism - January 18th, 2020
- Scientists Create "Living Concrete" That Can Heal Itself - Futurism - January 18th, 2020
- Scientists: Ocean Warming at the Rate of Five A-Bombs per Second - Futurism - January 18th, 2020
- 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers: The Achievers and the Futurists - RisMedia.com - January 18th, 2020
- The Roots Young Futurists 2020: Nominate the Leaders Who Are Ready to Change the World - The Root - January 18th, 2020
- MIT Suspends Another Professor for Epstein Ties - Futurism - January 18th, 2020
- Fossil fuel issues, nanobots, and the end of work as we know it - Kemmerer Gazette - January 18th, 2020
- Trump Demands That Apple Give Government Access to iPhones - Futurism - January 18th, 2020
- SpaceX Is Delivering Cannabis to the Space Station - Futurism - December 13th, 2019
- Elon Musk Is Talking About Powering All of America with Solar - Futurism - December 13th, 2019
- Middle Eastern Nation First to Buy Drone Armed With Machine Gun - Futurism - December 13th, 2019
- Virgil Abloh Merges Fashion and Futurism with the Louis Vuitton Men's 2054 Collection - Ocean Drive Magazine - December 13th, 2019
- Watch Terrifying Creeps Hack Ring Cameras and Spy on Families - Futurism - December 13th, 2019
- Study: Many Extreme Weather Events Were Caused by Climate Change - Futurism - December 13th, 2019
- End of the world: This futurist has some grim news for the middle class - MarketWatch - December 9th, 2019
- Futurist Predicts "The End of the World as We Know It" - Futurism - December 9th, 2019
- Avoiding the 'Robocalypse' - CFO Magazine - December 9th, 2019
- Blockland Solutions Conference is underway at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland - Crain's Cleveland Business - December 9th, 2019
- Its 2071, and We Have Bioengineered Our Own Extinction - The New York Times - December 9th, 2019
- Young Bomberg and the Old Masters at the National Gallery: the Renaissance influences on an East End radical - inews - December 9th, 2019
- Futurist, Cathy Hackl, Named Top Voice in Tech by LinkedIn for 2nd Year in a Row - PRNewswire - December 6th, 2019
- Futurist sees the end of the world as we know it for average person - Haaretz - December 6th, 2019
- SpaceX Is Sending Super-Muscular Mice to the Space Station - Futurism - December 6th, 2019
- 19 Newly Discovered Galaxies Appear to Be Missing Dark Matter - Futurism - December 6th, 2019
- Interview: Shaping the future - The Actuary - December 6th, 2019
- 'The Future of X' Turns to Collaboration in the Workplace. Tune In - OZY - December 6th, 2019
- The inspirations of Shafi Ahmed surgeon, teacher and futurist - Director magazine - November 30th, 2019
- New Zealand Opens World's First HIV-Positive Sperm Bank - Futurism - November 30th, 2019
- Dubai is Adding Tesla Cybertrucks to its Police Car Fleet - Futurism - November 30th, 2019
- New Calculations: Black Holes Could Have Thousands of Planets - Futurism - November 30th, 2019
- Web Inventor Unveils Plan to Save the Web - Futurism - November 30th, 2019
- Can a computer have intuition? - Verizon Communications - November 30th, 2019
- Things to Do in DC This Weekend: A Jane Goodall Exhibit, Holiday Markets, and a Massive Maze at Nats Park - Washingtonian - November 23rd, 2019
- Futurist: Channel Has To Remove Friction To Cloud 2.0 Adoption - CRN: The Biggest Tech News For Partners And The IT Channel - October 28th, 2019
- MSPs Will Help Enable The 'Virtualization Of The World,' Says Futurist - CRN: The Biggest Tech News For Partners And The IT Channel - October 28th, 2019
- Tech and futurism drive iconic car event's appeal - The Japan Times - October 28th, 2019
- This Electric Toothbrush Uses AI Because Nothing is Sacred Anymore - Futurism - October 28th, 2019
- This Rocky World With Three Suns May Have an Atmosphere - Futurism - October 28th, 2019
- This Creepy Life-Sized Doll Is a Warning About What Office Life Is Doing to Us - ScienceAlert - October 28th, 2019
- Scientists Say They Finally Figured Out How to Spot Wormholes - Futurism - October 28th, 2019
- Good News: The Ozone Hole Is Smaller Than Weve Ever Seen It - Futurism - October 28th, 2019
- The US Army Is Spending $750K to Partner With UFO Research Group - Futurism - October 28th, 2019
- Amazon Is Writing Its Own Facial Recognition Bills - Futurism - September 27th, 2019
- Yes, There's a "Pee Tape" and It's Unclear If It's a Deepfake - Futurism - September 27th, 2019
- Heres How We Could Feed a Million People on Mars - Futurism - September 27th, 2019
- Gasoline Fiends Blocked Every Single Tesla Charger in This Town - Futurism - September 27th, 2019
- Harvard Prof: The Moon Could Have Caught Alien Organisms, Tech - Futurism - September 27th, 2019
- Scarborough's South Bay observation wheel set to stay until November - The Scarborough News - September 27th, 2019
- Dozens of Countries Are Deploying Propaganda on Social Media - Futurism - September 27th, 2019
- Visual Effects Society Names Acclaimed Visual Futurist Syd Mead A Keynote Speaker at 2017 VES Summit - SHOOT Online - August 25th, 2017
- Residents 'Happy' With Futurist Development - Yorkshire Coast Radio - August 25th, 2017
- THE FUTURIST: Economic and existential concerns cloud the future - Sarasota Herald-Tribune - August 22nd, 2017
- New series of The Futurist Report explains effects of AI - IT News Africa - IT News Africa - August 22nd, 2017
- What is the Future of the Human Resource Function ... - August 20th, 2017
- Utah Futurist Rebrands NewVistas Effort - Valley News - August 20th, 2017
- AT&T Foundry, RocketSpace and Ericsson Release a New Series of ... - Al-Bawaba - August 20th, 2017
- Universal Basic Income Examined by Futurism Blog - Basic Income News - August 20th, 2017
- Renowned futurist to speak at SA top 100 event - InDaily - August 18th, 2017
- Acclaimed Visual Futurist Syd Mead to Deliver Keynote Address at 2017 VES Summit - Animation World Network (press release) (registration) (blog) - August 18th, 2017
- The CIO's broadening role: Business strategist, futurist, change agent - CIO New Zealand - August 16th, 2017
- Popular Futurist to Discuss the Future of the Hospitality Industry - Digital Journal - August 15th, 2017
- The Futurist: Technology as the key to HR - Human Resources Online - August 14th, 2017
- Yorkshire Coast Radio - News - Next Step In Futurist Demolition - Yorkshire Coast Radio - August 14th, 2017
- Transportation Futurist Simon J. Anderson to Speak Today on the Future of Trucking - Digital Journal - August 14th, 2017
- Cliff-top Scarborough residents say theatre demolition could destroy their homes - ITV News - August 11th, 2017
- The Futurist: Creating a positive candidate experience is fundamental - Human Resources Online - August 9th, 2017
- The Futurist: Fishing for the right talent - Human Resources Online - August 3rd, 2017
- Anders Srman-Nilsson (LLB/EMBA), global futurist, speaker and author - InvestorDaily - August 3rd, 2017
- 4 Big Trends That Will Shape CRE: A Futurist's Guide - Commercial Property Executive - August 3rd, 2017
- Futurist | Definition of Futurist by Merriam-Webster - August 1st, 2017
- FutureWorld - Is your business FUTUREPROOF - July 31st, 2017
- The Futurist: Why human resources is a people's job - Human Resources Online - July 31st, 2017
- Marty Sklar, Disney Legend And Futurist, Dies At 83 | Gizmodo ... - Gizmodo Australia - July 31st, 2017
- Professional futurists converge on Seattle to pick up hints about what lies ahead - GeekWire - July 29th, 2017
- Geek of the Week: Futurist author Richard Yonck helps us better prepare for a rapidly changing world - GeekWire - July 29th, 2017
- A futurist tells us what life will probably look like in 2040 - New York Post - July 29th, 2017
- Marty Sklar, Disney Legend and Futurist, Dies at 83 - Gizmodo - July 28th, 2017