The U.S. Role and Policy in Central Asia: Energy and Beyond

AKM Iftekharul Islam

Abstract

A significant geopolitical consequence of the demise of the Soviet Union1 in the international arena is the rise of intense political and commercial competition for control of the vast energy resources of the newly independent and vulnerable states of the Caucasus and Central Asia. These energy resources and, in particular, the oil and natural gas deposits have now become the apple of discord in Central Asia introducing a new chapter in the Great Game of control over Eurasia (Hill 1997: 200). The region has great energy potential and is strategically important. The United States has varied and at times competing interests in Central Asia. In the past few years, real and present dangers to the U.S. national security especially Islamist terrorism and threats to the energy supply, have affected the U.S. policy in Central Asia. The region, which includes the five post-Soviet states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as Afghanistan and the Caspian basin, plays an important part in the U.S. global strategy in view of its proximity to Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and other key regional actors. No less important are its ethno-religious composition and vast deposits of oil, gas, coal, and uranium. Literally, the U.S. interests in Central Asia can be summarized in three simple words: security, energy, and democracy. Moreover, a key U.S. national security concern is the diversification of energy sources and the Caspian region is a significant alternative source of fossil fuels. In this article a critical analysis will be attempted on the U.S. policy and role in central Asia.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3329/afj.v4i0.12931

The Arts Faculty Journal Vol.4 July 2010-June 2011 pp.33-51

Keywords

US role in Asia; Central Asia; Energy

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3329/afj.v4i0.12931

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