Bases of Debate: America in Central Asia: Steppes to Empire

America's post-9/11 tryst with the authoritarian regimes of Central Asia should not be transformed into a longer-term "marriage of convenience." It would end badly.

Issue: Summer 2002

Since September 11, Americans have handed George W. Bush the equivalent of a blank check on matters pertaining to foreign policy. Prosecuting the war trumps all other considerations. Yet as operations move beyond the so-called first phase, it becomes increasingly clear that the Bush Administration has more in mind than simply eradicating terror. As phase two beckons (not to mention phases three and four), automatic deference to the administration's wishes should no longer be viewed as the ultimate badge of patriotism. A healthy, respectful skepticism should be the order of the day. Evolving U.S. policy toward Central Asia offers a case in point.

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