The New Great Game

The re-emergence of the ancient Silk Road provides Central Asia with a promising alternative to another reincarnation of great power conquest in the region.

Issue: Fall 2005

Of all the regional powers vying for influence in Central Asia, China is likely to have the most lasting and broad impact. Geographical proximity and security and economic interests all play a factor in the region becoming a top strategic priority for China.

A major factor in China's outreach across its western border has been its exploding energy demand. Its economy, growing at the torrid pace of 9.5 percent per year, has made the nation the world's second-largest oil importer and will likely account for one-fifth of the world's growth in global energy demand in the next quarter-century. With much of China's current energy imports arriving via the insecure Malacca Strait, its energy strategy emphasizes diversification of energy routes, including pipelines from Iran and Kazakhstan.

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