Chapter

The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia

Alexander Cooley

in Great Games, Local Rules

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199929825
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950485 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199929825.003.0001
The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia

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This chapter introduces the old “great game” of the 19th century and compares its dynamics to the current great power contest in Central Asia that involves the United States, Russia, and China. Each of these great powers seeks something different from the region: The U.S. seeks bases and transit routes to support its Afghanistan operations; Russia seeks to be the dominant external influence and enhance its great power status; and China seeks to stabilize its province of Xinjiang through security cooperation, regional economic development, and access to Central Asian energy. But the new great game is also driven by the Central Asian governments, which have used this renewed external interest and competition to consolidate their domestic power and extract economic benefits. Their success in playing the foreign powers off one another provides important insights into the emerging political dynamics of the post-Western, multipolar world.

Keywords: Great Game; New Great Game; Central Asia; Multipolar world; United States; Russia; China

Chapter.  5476 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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