Policy Memos

The Not-So-Great Game in Central Asia

Policy Memo:


Publication Date:




The recent request of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to the United States to set deadlines for the temporary use of its bases in Central Asia, and Uzbekistan’s subsequent demand that the United States vacate its Karshi-Khanabad (K2) base came as a shock and triggered talk in Washington about a great game, similar to the great power competition between the Russian Empire and Great Britain over the same region in the 19th century. This time the great game is conceptualized as the desire of Russia and China to squeeze the United States out of Central Asia and keep the region under their exclusive control. Moscow denies that it is playing such a great game. [...]

Read full text (PDF)

About the author

Senior Fellow
Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non‑Proliferation