For the past decade Central Asia has been cast as the site of a new "great game," with the United States vying for influence with Russia and China. The label first reemerged when the United States began pushing hard for the creation of an oil pipeline route through Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey (the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline) as an alternative to shipping Caspian oil and gas through Russia or Iran. Many thought that the opening of US bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and increased military cooperation with the region's three other states--all part of the strategic deployment designed to oust the Taliban and then rebuild civil order in Afghanistan after September 11--ensured US "victory" in the game.

Reprinted with permission from Current History (October 2005) c 2005, Current History, Inc.

Click on the link above for the full text.