There is a clear link between a state’s domestic situation - where policy is formulated and made (called foreign policy making), and its external environment, in which policy is implemented (called foreign policy behavior). In post-Soviet states in Central Asia, such as Kyrgyzstan, the states are operating their foreign policies in conditions of enormous structural change, uncertainty and lack of experience, stemming from the fact of having only recently established their own independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Changes in the international system and regional subsystems have also pushed them toward limited choices and certain idiosyncratic foreign policy behaviors. Furthermore, these states have entered into new alliances following the September 11 events, played roles in new conflicts (in Afghanistan and Iraq - the War on Terror), and sought assistance and protection from global and regional powers that had previously been inaccessible. This paper attempts to explain the foreign policy of Kyrgyzstan from 1991 to 2010. Robert Putnam’s model of the “two-level game” approach is used to explain Kyrgyz foreign policy, based on the relationships between the international system and subsystems, and foreign policy and domestic politics.
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