Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Entering the Old “Great Game” in Central Asia

Entering the Old “Great Game” in Central Asia

The term “great game” was originally coined by Rudyard Kipling to label the nineteenth-century Anglo-Russian rivalry for hegemony in Central Asia. Since the demise of the USSR, the term has been used liberally by observers of the region to describe the great powers’ various endeavors, ranging from military ventures to mere competition for natural resources, to fill the strategic void in a region now seeing new intimations of Islamist violence. After the Afghanistan campaign, Washington is entering the great game in its more precarious phase without any pronounced doctrine. Few scholars have endeavored to explain what specifically Central Asia is today and what the United States’ policy toward it should be.

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