Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia

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Overview


The struggle between Russia and Great Britain over Central Asia in the nineteenth century was the original "great game." But in the past quarter century, a new "great game" has emerged, pitting America against a newly aggressive Russia and a resource-hungry China, all struggling for influence over one of the volatile areas in the world: the long border region stretching from Iran through Pakistan to Kashmir. In Great Games, Local Rules, Alexander Cooley, one of America's most respected Central Asia experts, ...
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Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia

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Overview


The struggle between Russia and Great Britain over Central Asia in the nineteenth century was the original "great game." But in the past quarter century, a new "great game" has emerged, pitting America against a newly aggressive Russia and a resource-hungry China, all struggling for influence over one of the volatile areas in the world: the long border region stretching from Iran through Pakistan to Kashmir. In Great Games, Local Rules, Alexander Cooley, one of America's most respected Central Asia experts, explores the dynamics of the new competition over the region since 9/11. All three great powers are pursuing important goals: basing rights for the US, access to natural resources for the Chinese, and increased political influence for the Russians. But Central Asian governments have proven themselves powerful forces in their own right, establishing local rules that serve to fend off foreign involvement, enrich themselves and reinforce their sovereign authority. Cooley's careful and surprising explanation of how small states interact with great powers in this vital region greatly advances our understanding of how world politics actually works in this contemporary era.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The borderlands of Central Asia are plagued with terrorism, poverty and an immense power struggle for the land mass of Asia. The region is ripe for large scale economic and political unrest. Cooley combines scholarship with expertise and great skill as a writer to give us by far the best analysis of Central Asia during the past decadeELA well-conceived and comprehensive work."--Ahmed Rashid, author of Taliban and Pakistan on the Brink

"Central Asia remains the enigmatic heartland of geopolitics. As Alex Cooley's important book demonstrates, no great power-the U.S., Russia nor China-has yet mastered the art of negotiating with a host of crafty patrimonial regimes who dictate resources, contracts and access as much as the reverse. This is a region that must, therefore, be understood from the inside out, rather than during the first iteration of the Great Game in the 19th century. As it did with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Central Asia could still create a perfect geopolitical storm as ossified political systems undergo transition, American bases are vacated, and energy pipelines extend in all directions. The 21st century Great Game will have both new players and new rules."--Parag Khanna, author of The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order and How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance

"Alex Cooley knows his stuff. With objective and penetrating research and analysis, Cooley peels away the fog and shadow that have always obscured this prime geopolitical region."--Steve LeVine, author of The Oil and the Glory

"A book with multi-faceted value. Great Games, Local Rules provides in-depth analysis of a key yet understudied region, and does so informed by history, imbued with international relations theory, and bearing on key policy issues, all from a well-respected scholar."--Bruce W. Jentleson, Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Duke University

"The field of Central Asian studies needs this book. Cliché-ridden thinking blights much popular commentary on the region and the putative competition under way there among China, Russia, and the United States. Cooley brings firsthand research and a detached, sensible eye to a complex, fast-moving subject..."--Foreign Affairs

"...an exceptional and critical analysis. Cooley's book offers the prospect of a new research agenda to study the international politics of Central Asia in terms of both its powerful and misleading discourses and its corrupt and profitable practices. It is an important book that deserves to be widely read among scholars of IR who seek to make sense of what 'multipolarity' means today."--International Affairs

"...wide-ranging and compelling..."--Survival

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199331437
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/14/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 941,384
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexander Cooley is the Tow Professor for Distinguished Scholars and Practitioners in the Department of Political Science at Barnard College and Columbia University. His books include Contracting States, Logics of Hierarchy, and Base Politics.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The New Multipolar Politics of Influence in Central Asia
Chapter 2: Local Rules: The Origins and Politics of Central Asian Regime Survival
Chapter 3: Washington's Strategy: Juggling Interests and Values on the Road to Afghanistan
Chapter 4: Moscow's Strategy: The Quest for a Privileged Role
Chapter 5: Beijing's Strategy: The SCO, Xinjiang and China's Great Leap Westward
Chapter 6: Anti-Terrorism, Democratization and Human Rights
Chapter 7: Geopolitical Competition and Political Stability: The Case of Kyrgyzstan
Chapter 8: Corruption and Governance: Competition and Collusion in Contracting
Chapter 9: Regional Integration: So Many Proposals, So Little Cooperation
Chapter 10: Conclusion: Central Asia's Multipolar Politics in Comparative Perspective

Appendix 1: Laws Passed after Color Revolutions that Introduced New Restrictions on NGOs and the Media
Appendix 2: Election Monitor Assessments, ODIHR/SCO/CIS

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