The Strategic Significance of Central Asia

By David Denoon

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 led to the creation of five newly independent states in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Each of these states had been conquered by Imperial Russia and, subsequently, was tightly controlled by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The process of establishing themselves as truly autonomous states has been the central enterprise for these five countries in the last twenty-two years.


The demise of the U.S.S.R. also led to dramatic changes in the global strategic environment: the Warsaw Pact unraveled, the Soviet Union itself splintered into numerous states, and the Cold War ended. Most of the Western commentary on these developments focused on the reduced military threat and the independence of Byelorussia, Ukraine, and the states in the Caucuses. Few Westerners knew much about Central Asia (CA) and even fewer followed the halting steps of the CA states toward greater economic and political autonomy.

Only after September 11, 2001, when the United States began to use CA as a transit route to Afghanistan, did greater numbers of Americans learn about air bases and truck routes in CA. Also, it was only then that Americans became more aware of Islamist networks spreading from the Middle East and Afghanistan into CA. Roughly simultaneously with the rise of Islamist groups came the rise of China. These two seemingly unrelated historical developments combined together and provided a new platform for the interplay of the U.S. and China in Central Asia. Though the decade of the 1990s was relatively tranquil in military terms, the first decade of the 21st Century was a veritable cauldron of turmoil, as the world adjusted to surging Islamist and Chinese capabilities.

So, why is it useful to have a volume that links the United States and China and Central Asia?

Only after September 11, 2001, when the United States began to use Central Asia (CA) as a transit route to Afghanistan, did greater numbers of Americans learn about air bases and truck routes in CA.

First, China is the only state that has the potential to directly challenge American global leadership. Second, militant Islamist movements are the only non-state groups that can and are openly confronting American and Western institutions and they thrive in CA. Finally, Central Asia is important in its own right because it is the vital fulcrum between the dynamism of East Asia and the wealth and technology in Western Europe. What we do, below, is briefly survey the literature on bilateral relations between the U.S. and China, and then, by concentrating on Sino-American relations inside CA, we will show what is distinctive about this volume.

The rise of China has led to a massive outpouring of commentary and analysis. In the past two years alone, there have been at least six major studies dealing with the bilateral relations between the United States and China.1 There are many useful perspectives within this literature. Some have emphasised the historical interaction between China and the West, noting that the 19th and early 20th centuries were periods when China was on the defensive and under pressure from outsiders.2 Others, like earlier studies, have stressed the cultural aspects of the sparing between China and the West and the difficulties each side faced in coping with the other.3 Also, during the past two decades, as China’s growth stunned outside observers, much of the discussion between Beijing and Washington has been over trading regimes and how to adjust to China becoming the world’s largest manufactured-goods exporter.4 In addition, of course, the rapid growth of China’s military capability and Beijing’s new assertiveness on territorial and maritime claims issues with its neighbors, has led to major debates about China’s intentions.5

What is notable about Central Asia, in the past two decades, is that China and the United States, despite their problems elsewhere, have pursued different objectives in the region and not had any significant clash of interests.

Yet, what is notable about Central Asia, in the past two decades, is that China and the United States, despite their problems elsewhere, have pursued different objectives in the region and not had any significant clash of interests. Some of the most significant problems in CA have been developmental ones for the five states. Moving away from centrally-planned economies has been resisted by the political elites who were all trained in Soviet-style management. Private sector business in CA has been mostly small firms or an occasional quasi-public company where a well-connected person got control of a former state enterprise. Since the political elite has little incentive to privatise the remaining large companies, there has been an ongoing stand-off between outside donors and advisors (who favour privatisation) and most of the current elite.6 Also, it is clear that the political leaders can extract resources from these state enterprises on a predictable basis whereas a truly independent private sector would resist side payments and even be an alternative source of power.7

Creating real autonomy for the five CA states has, also, faced serious obstacles. Russia has waxed and waned in its interest in Central Asia since 1991. President Yeltsin wanted to concentrate on internal Russian issues but President Putin has consistently had a strong concern with the ‘near abroad.’ When the Commonwealth of Independent States concept failed to gain support, President Putin then suggested a series of organisations to cement political, economic and security ties with CA. Moscow proposed and successfully persuaded certain CA states to join the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), and the Customs Union Commission (CUC).8

China’s programs in CA have been, predominantly, economic though its signature effort, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (which includes 4 CA states plus Russia as members) has recently begun to discuss security issues, notably Islamic militancy.

Both the United States and China have made major overtures to CA as well. The U.S. put effort into encouraging economic integration among the CA countries, but, when that foundered on friction between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, Washington has stressed bilateral efforts at economic assistance and defense cooperation.9 China’s programs in CA have been, predominantly, economic though its signature effort, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (which includes 4 CA states plus Russia as members) has recently begun to discuss security issues, notably Islamic militancy.10 In addition, each of the CA states has ethnic divisions which make creating a unified state difficult.11 These ethnic differences are particularly prominent in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. These long-standing frictions are now exacerbated by the rise of militant Islam and have led to outbreaks of violence and government crack-downs in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.12


Major Themes of This Volume

China and the United States are not currently in conflict or having direct friction in CA because they have different objectives and interests. Washington’s principal concerns are military and relate to supplying U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan. The major concerns of the Chinese are economic and relate mostly to ensuring access to oil and gas supplies in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Beijing’s major military worry in CA is Islamic protest and organisation directed at Xinjiang. In this latter regard, American and Chinese are aligned in the desire to limit the spread of militant Islam.

If there is any power which is competing with the U.S. for strategic influence in Central Asia, it is Russia. Key members of the Russian leadership want to reassert Moscow’s influence in CA and they see the post-2001 role of the U.S. in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, especially, as inimical to Russian interests.

Since it is unclear if the U.S. will try to maintain a presence in CA after the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, the less powerful states on the periphery of CA are waiting to see if they have an opportunity to increase their influence. India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey each have some ambitions in CA and are maneuvering to test out what roles they can play.

Thus, we are in a waiting period where the CA states themselves are pursuing their respective policies to ensure their autonomy, while the outside powers are calculating how to position themselves for the changing strategic environment in Central Asia. We will return to each of these themes in the balance of this Chapter and in the body of this volume as different authors examine Central Asian developments in depth.


Why is Central Asia Significant By Itself?

In the 19th Century, Central Asia (CA) was the region of the ‘Great Game’ – the ongoing contest between the British, from their base in India, and Imperial Russia, from its contiguous territory.13 This British-Russian competition was significant then not only because of the resources expended but because leaders in St. Petersburg and London saw this as part of a global balancing effort. Britain’s influence was rising, while Russia’s was gradually declining and the contest was capped by Russia’s humiliating defeat by Japan in 1905.

Ironically, after World War I, although Imperial Russia had collapsed, the Soviet Union was able to re-infuse itself in CA and fully incorporate CA as five provinces of the U.S.S.R. By the start of World War II, one of Germany’s central goals was to expand southeast into the Caucuses and east into Ukraine and CA to gain control of the farmland and hydrocarbons there.

Turkmenistan’s gas reserves put it in the world’s top five potential producers. It is also worth noting that Kazakhstan’s and Turkmenistan’s abundance of resources is in contrast to the relative paucity of hydrocarbons in the other three CA states.

Thus, we see major strategic choices of the period 1850-1945 playing themselves out in CA or its periphery. Britain’s naval power was a key inspiration for A.T. Mahan’s The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, whereas Harold Mackinder and Nicholas Spykman stressed the importance of controlling land and the Eurasian Heartland as a pivot point between Europe and Asia.14 Yet, it was the combination of land and naval power in Britain’s favour that explained the shift in global balances of that period. Although the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 briefly gave Germany potential access to oil in the Caucuses, once Hitler and Stalin were at war, the Eurasian Heartland became a key objective for German attacks. The tenacity of the U.S.S.R. during World War II meant that Germany never succeeded in controlling the Caucuses and CA, and Moscow was able to preserve its dominance there until 1991.

However, as Z. Brzezinski notes:

“… two aspirants to global power, Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin, explicitly agreed that America should be excluded from Eurasia. Each realised that the injection of American power into Eurasia would preclude his ambitions regarding global domination.”15

We see a somewhat analogous situation today, where neither Russia nor China wants the United States to stay in Central Asia after NATO’s departure from Afghanistan. Obviously Eurasia is a wider area than Central Asia, and it now includes China and Japan as well as Europe. Nevertheless, CA is the linchpin between Asia and Europe. Thus, keeping CA autonomous is vital to preventing any one power gaining dominance in Eurasia. So, Central Asia’s first critical feature is its location.

chineseCA’s second vital asset is its hydrocarbon resources. Kazakhstan has 30 billion barrels of oil reserves. Although this is only 1/8 the proven reserves in Saudi Arabia, it is worth roughly $2.5 trillion, at current world prices – after expenses for extraction. This is, clearly, enough to create a sizable, annual annuity for each Kazakh. At a similar level of importance is Turkmenistan’s natural gas, estimated at 265 trillion cubic feet.16 Turkmenistan’s gas reserves put it in the world’s top five potential producers. It is also worth noting that Kazakhstan’s and Turkmenistan’s abundance of resources is in contrast to the relative paucity of hydrocarbons in the other three CA states.

Central Asia’s third distinctive feature is not an asset. It is a dilemma: movements that seek to establish Islamist governments.17 These movements grow out of religious fervor and assorted grievances and have led to underground activities and violent protests in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. In addition, Tajikistan had what amounted to a civil war in the early and mid-1990s.18 So, Central Asia has key advantages in its location and natural resources, but is a tinder-box where political instability could surface at any time. Also, because CA borders on Afghanistan and Pakistan, there is no question that instability could stem from inside CA leading out or the reverse.19

The biggest uncertainty facing Central Asia is: what will happen when Western forces leave Afghanistan? The major powers (U.S., China, and Russia) realise that they cannot control CA as do the regional powers on CA’s periphery. At present, the object of all these states is influence and to avoid any single other power gaining a dominant position. Before turning to the roles of the outside powers, we will provide more background on the trends inside the CA states.


Dealing with Internal Unrest, Separatism,and Islamist Groups:

As noted above, Islamist and separatist groups have become increasingly able to challenge established governments in CA.20 Except for Kyrgyzstan, which has alternated between riots and voting as a means to change leadership, CA states have had authoritarian rulers throughout their post-1991, independence period. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Uzbek President Islam Karimov ascended directly to power from their positions as Soviet party leaders and have brooked no opposition since. President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan represents a similar form of secular, authoritarian leader. Ironically, only in Turkmenistan, which is the most isolated of the CA states, has there been a peaceful transition of power since 1991; there when President Saparmurat Niyazov died in 2006, Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov emerged from, still private, maneuvering to claim the presidency. Berdymukhamedov has not been openly challenged since.

Thus, in four of the five states of Central Asia we have a general pattern: authoritarian, secular leaders run societies that are overwhelmingly Muslim. This creates an inherent tension between values of the public and the leadership. In those cases where there is radical Islamic organisational ability that the governments cannot completely suppress, periodic uprisings occur.21 In the one democratic state, Kyrgyzstan, there is more freedom of expression but a deep ethnic split between the Kyrgyz majority and Uzbek minority.

Hence, it is reasonable to surmise that Central Asia has more political instability ahead. Presidents Nazarbayev and Karimov are in their 70s, so future aspirants to power will be positioning themselves; and, throughout the region, the rise of militant Islam will challenge secular governments. There have not yet been general uprisings in CA like the ‘Arab Spring’ revolts of 2011-2012, but they cannot be ruled out as a possibility.


Determining How To Deal With Regional Powers on Their Periphery:

Below we will analyse, in greater detail, how the CA states deal with the major powers, but it is first worth noting that the ‘regional powers’ on their periphery pose both risks and opportunities. At various times in the past two decades both Iran and Turkey have made efforts to expand contacts and influence in CA.22 Neither of these have been particularly successful but there are strong cultural and ethnic ties as well. Many of the languages in CA are Turkic in origin, whereas Tajik is based on Persian. This, plus the different models of Islam which Turkey and Iran represent, also provide inspiration for links to the region’s middle powers.23

CA2The regional power with the most intent and capability to affect CA is India.24 Strategists in New Delhi have two major objectives in CA: gaining access to the hydrocarbons and preventing Pakistan from forming a broad Islamic coalition against India. Obtaining Central Asian oil and gas would reduce India’s dependence on Iran and the Middle East; thus the appeal of the proposed Turkmenistan – Afghan – Pakistan – India (TAPI) pipeline. The problem is that no company will build the TAPI line without a secure peace in Afghanistan and improved relations between Pakistan and India. However, even if the TAPI pipeline is not built, India would still like to have good relations with CA so that it is not facing united, northern Islamic antagonism.25 India has therefore put substantial resources into aid for Afghanistan, offers various aid programs to CA states, and has achieved observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. This has not yet yielded close ties in CA, but its minimum objective has been achieved as India does not find itself excluded from the region.


The Outside Major Powers: Russia, The United States, and China:

Russia’s long-term involvement in Central Asia has created both opportunities and drawbacks for its current policies. As mentioned, the long-term involvement means that there are close personal contacts with most of the current leadership in CA, ease of communication in Russian, and, in many cases, common approaches to issues.26 On the other hand, in those situations where the Central Asian decision-maker has had negative experiences dealing with Moscow, the historical legacy can be a hindrance to current relations.

After the demise of the Soviet Union, President Yeltsin took little interest in CA and many of the leaders there felt abandoned. President Putin has reversed that stance and placed significant emphasis on ‘Russia’s Near Abroad’ which includes Eastern and Southern Europe as well as CA.27 The dilemma for the CA states is that Putin’s embrace often comes with a price: increased dependence on Russia.28 Moscow has tried to prevent the CA governments from signing pipeline deals that moved gas or oil without going through Russia. Moscow has also pressed the CA states to cooperate in national security arrangements or in aligning with Russian positions on controversies that many in CA found unacceptable. This has been particularly true regarding Russia’s stance on Georgia and N. Ossetia.29 President Putin certainly recognises that the United States will have trouble maintaining its influence in CA after NATO’s fighting units depart from Afghanistan, so many see his efforts as directed toward picking up the pieces after the 13 year American interregnum ends.

The dilemma for the CA states is that Putin’s embrace often comes with a price: increased dependence on Russia.

The United States faces serious intervention fatigue after its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the start of these wars, few foreign affairs specialists and even fewer of the American public would have anticipated that U.S. troops would spend nine years in Iraq and almost a decade and one-half in Afghanistan at a terrible human and financial cost. Thus, the public sentiment in the U.S. is strongly against further commitments of forces or aid in the Middle East and Central Asia. For example, this experience is surely inhibiting President Obama from making any large-scale commitments to intervene in Syria.

Nevertheless, the question remains: what role will the U.S. assume in Central Asia ‘after Afghanistan?’30 First of all, there may be several CA states that want the U.S. as a balancer against growing Russian and Chinese influence. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are both states that see their neighbours as problematic and may want an outside friend, if not ally.31 Tajikistan may fit in this category as well if Afghanistan devolves into a decentralised state with the Tajik ‘northern alliance’ seeking protection from the Pushtun majority in the south. Also, there may be purely pragmatic regimes that see financial benefits from allowing American use of their roads, rails, or airports.32 This may have already played a part in the cooperation with the U.S. ‘Northern Distribution Network’ (NDN) which channels supplies through CA to Afghanistan.

Moreover, even though Turkmenistan has been strictly neutral and isolationist, it has chosen to let China be a major developer of its gas reserves. This has been a source of irritation to Russia but an indication that policy-makers in Ashgabat see merit in diversifying their potential supporters. The effort to counter-vale the influence of Russia with China might even bring Turkmenistan to seeing the benefit of ties with the United States.33 Nevertheless, the current dyspepsia in Washington and inability to agree in the Congress on broad goals for foreign policy make it unlikely that there will be American support for an interventionist and broad-gauged role in Central Asia. That means that policy-makers in Washington may end up focusing on narrower goals, such as countering Islamic militant groups and maintaining sufficiently good relations with some CA states so that US forces can gain access in critical situations. Yet, the more ambitious objectives of promoting democracy and transparent government (which characterised American policy in the 1990s) seem unattainable and a relic of the past.

Clearly, the most enigmatic outside power today in Central Asia is China. Although official Chinese policy emphasises the importance of CA, Beijing is actually keeping a very limited profile. China has become the world’s second largest oil importer at 5.5 million barrels a day in 2011. Only about 5% of that oil comes from CA (Kazakhstan) but, once the Turkmenistan gas is flowing at full capacity, CA may be supplying up to 10% of China’s hydrocarbon imports.34 This is critical to Beijing’s overall energy security plans because CA imports come directly to China and are not subject to interdiction in the Persian Gulf, in the Indian Ocean or in Southeast Asia. Thus, it is understandable that Beijing wants to pursue a low-keyed approach to energy acquisition that keeps China out of the limelight.

Yet, China’s broader objectives, of shaping developments in neighboring states, limiting the spread of Islamic fundamentalism into Xinjiang Province and balancing Russia’s influence in CA, cannot be achieved with its current low-profile stance.35 There are ample indications that China is confident about balancing Russia. The question of how to deal with Islamic fundamentalism poses a more complex challenge. At present, China is content to have the United States take the lead in dealing with Muslim terrorists.36 China has enough problems with its own Uighurs (mostly in Xinjiang) that it does not want to antagonise Muslims in CA who could be a source of training and financial support for dissidents inside China. Also, China has worked diligently to keep good relations with both Sunnis and Shias in the Muslim world. Beijing needs Iranian oil, so has been unwilling to take a stance against the Assad regime in Syria which is aligned with Tehran. Moreover, ties with Shia states gives China acceptable relations with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Gaza as well. Nevertheless, China’s most important relations in the Muslim world are with the Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is China’s largest supplier of imported oil as it provides almost twice the annual amount supplied by Iran. Also, given Saudi Arabia’s role in the Sunni community, China is careful not to antagonise Riyadh’s partners as well.

Yet, Pakistan is even more critical to China because of Islamabad’s role in balancing India. Pakistan’s presence preoccupies India and keeps New Delhi facing Northwest, not Northeast toward China.37 Since 1998, when Pakistan successfully tested nuclear weapons, India has been thwarted in its ability to coerce Pakistan and that frees China to focus on its expanded relations with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, all littoral states on the Bay of Bengal. Although Beijing and New Delhi have cordial relations for public consumption, leaders in both states know that each represents the main regional rival to the other.

At the broadest strategic level, China’s principal foreign policy concern remains the United States.38 Beijing has not yet revealed to the world how active its long-term foreign policy will be. At present China’s leaders are satisfied to keep a relatively low-keyed role in Central Asia, to balance its relations between Sunni and Shia states in the Middle East, and to expand its ties with the states surrounding India. All of these moves will give Beijing options in the future but China cannot please all of these states indefinitely. If there is greater turmoil in Central and South Asia when NATO forces leave Afghanistan, China will need to decide whether it is willing to intervene to play a stabilising role. Otherwise, China will need to cede the role of aspiring outside powers to Iran, India, Pakistan, and Russia, each of which has shown interest in greater influence in Central Asia.

This article contains excerpts from China, The United States, and the Future of Central Asia (New York: New York University Press, 2015) of which D. Denoon is Editor And Contributor,

About the Author

davidDavid Denoon is Professor of Politics and Economics at New York University and Director of the NYU Center on U.S.-China Relations. He has a B.A. from Harvard, an M.P.A. from Princeton, and a Ph.D. from M.I.T.; and has served in the Federal Government in three positions: Program Economist for USAID in Jakarta, Vice President of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.

Professor Denoon is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the U.S. Committee on Security Cooperation in Asia and the Pacific (USSCAP), the Asia Society, the Korea Society, the U.S.-Indonesia Society, and is Chairman of the New York University Asia Policy Seminar. He is also Chairman of the Editorial Advisory Board of Great Decisions and is the author and editor of nine books, including Real Reciprocity – Balancing U.S. Economic and Security Policy in the Pacific Basin. Two of his recent books are: a monograph titled The Economic and Strategic Rise of China and India and an edited volume, China, the United States and the Future of Central Asia: Vol. I (2015).

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4. For an early discussion of this issue, see Nicholas Lardy, Integrating China into the Global Economy (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2002).
5. For an overview of this debate, see Chapters 1-3 in Aaron Friedberg, Contest for Supremacy (New York: W.W. Norton, 2011).
6. For an overview of this debate, see Oksana Dmitrieva, Regional Development: The U.S.S.R. and After (London: UCL Press, 1996).
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9. Oliker, O. and D. Schlapak, U.S. Interests in Central Asia: Policy Priorities and Military Roles (RAND: Santa Monica, Cal. 2005).
10. For an overview of China’s program in CA, see the chapters in this volume by Li Xin and Xin Delong, Xing Guangcheng, and Pan Guang.
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13. For a discussion of the lingering effects of the Great Game, see A. Cooley, Great Games, Local Rules (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). For a history of the 19th Century actions, see K. Meyer and S. Brysac, Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Central Asia (New York: Basic Books, 2006).
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15. Brzezinski, Z., The Grand Chessboard (New York: Basic Books 1997), p. xiv.
16. See the Chapter in this volume by C. Kissane which covers the hydrocarbon issues in CA in detail.
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18. For a discussion of these movements and the efforts to suppress them, see D. Marty, Alleged Secret Detentions and Unlawful Inter-state Transfers of Detainees Involving Council of Europe Member States, Report Prepared for the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, June 12, 2006.
19. Weitz, R, “Averting a New Great Game in Central Asia,” The Washington Quarterly, 29, No. 3, (Summer 2006), 155-167.
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21. Jones, S. and O. Oliker,, Securing Tyrants or Fostering Reform? U.S. Security Assistance to Repressive and Transitioning Regimes (Washington, D.C.: RAND, 2006).
22. See the chapter by J. Walker in this volume for a discussion of Turkey’s assorted efforts in CA.
23. Kavalski, E., The New Central Asia: The Regional Impact of International Actors (Singapore: World Scientific, 2010).
24. See the chapter in this volume by G. Sachdeva for a detailed review of India’s interests and activities in CA.
25. Moore, S., “Peril and Promise: A Survey of India’s Strategic Relationship with Central Asia,” Central Asian Survey, 26, 2, (September 2007), 279-291.
26. Tsygankov, A., Russia’s Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2010) 2nd Edition.
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28. Lo, B., Vladimir Putin and the Evolution of Russian Foreign Policy (London: Royal Institute for International Affairs and Blackwell, 2003).
29. Mitchell, L., Uncertain Democracy: U.S. Policy and Georgia’s Revolution (Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009).
30. See the chapter in this volume by Andrew Kuchins with S. Sharan for a detailed assessment of this question.
31. Akbarzadeh, S., Uzbekistan and the United States: Authoritarianism, Islamism, and Washington’s Security Agenda (New York: ZED, 2005).
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33. Fitzpatrick, C., “Is the U.S. Violating Turkmenistan’s Neutrality with the NDN?” Eurasianet, August 1, 2010.
34. Energy Information Administration, FACTS Global Energy (Washington D.C.: 2012).
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37. Frankel, F., and H. Harding, eds., The India-China Relationship: What the United States Needs to Know (New York: Columbia University Press and Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2004).
38. Wang, Fan, “Asymmetrical Interdependence and Cooperative Pressing – Adjustment of the U.S.’s Strategy Toward China,” World Economy and Politics, No. 12, 2010.