U.S. foreign policy interests in Central Asia : tradeoffs, competing interests, and outcomes
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Foreign policy making often involves the balancing of priorities and tradeoffs. U.S. foreign policy to Central Asia has changed over time, in response to regional concerns and domestic priorities. This study examines U.S. foreign policy motivations in Central Asia, the limitations and counterweights in the region, and the results of U.S. foreign policy to the region. Security, energy, and democracy building are the primary areas of U.S. interest in the region, with security having taken precedence in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. In a complex region, surrounded by many interested international players, poorly calibrated U.S. policy and balancing of policy interests resulted in the souring of relations between the U.S. and Central Asian countries. Many have charged that bungled policy and the reentrance of large neighbors Russia and China resulted in a turning point that led to a large and costly decline in U.S. influence. Did the U.S. lose Central Asia? Was it inevitable that Central Asia’s neighbors would reemerge as primary influences? This study assesses mismanagement of U.S. foreign policy interests, the interests and policies of Russia and China in the region, the future outlook of U.S. policy, and possibilities for cooperation between the U.S. and neighboring superpowers in the region.