Alexander CooleyGreat Game, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia

Oxford University Press, 2014

by Luke Rodeheffer on November 11, 2014

Alexander Cooley

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Russian and Eurasian Studies] Central Asia is one of the least studied and understood regions of the Eurasian landmass, conjuring up images of 19th century Great Power politics, endless steppe, and impenetrable regimes. Alexander Cooley, a professor of Political Science at Barnard College in New York, has studied the five post-Soviet states of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan since the end of the Soviet Union and developed a strong reputation as a commentator on the region’s politics. His recent book Great Game, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia (Oxford University Press, 2014) charts the course of the region’s engagement with Russia, the United States, and China in the decade following September 11th. It is a tale of great power competition, brazen graft, revolution, hydrocarbons, and authoritarian rule that serves as both an excellent introduction to the region’s current politics and a primer on where Central Asia may be headed in the 21st century.

As the United States withdraws NATO forces from Afghanistan, Russia pushes its Eurasian Economic Community across the post-Soviet space, and China’s rapid industrialization leads Beijing to seek closer cooperation and trade with the region, Professor Cooley’s book could not be timelier.

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