Policy Memos

Avoiding the Great Game and Domestic Unrest in Eurasia

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Central Asia’s growing instability has opened the region to a host of would-be political entrepreneurs. The March and May 2005 uprisings in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan underscored the weakness of Eurasian authoritarianism and emboldened both domestic and international actors to stake new claims in Central Asia’s increasingly uncertain political landscape. Some of these actors seek deepened political and economic reform. Others, however, are engaged in power struggles with little concern for anything but immediate local and geopolitical interests. Who ultimately wins these struggles—extremists, reformists, or newly resurgent great powers—will be shaped by U.S. engagement in the region and, equally important, by Washington’s cooperation or great power competition with Moscow in post-Soviet Central Asia. [...]

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About the author

Associate Professor; School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs
George Mason University