"This article asks and attempts to respond to several questions: How important is Central Asia to the United States? What is the nature of U.S. interest in the region? What role should the United States play in Central Asia: security manager, hegemon, limited partner? Defining the right role for the United States in Central Asia is no easy task. The region is geographically remote, unknown to much of the American public, and not easily accessible. It has few evident connections to the United States. U.S. interests in Central Asia- beyond the most basic ones such as peace, stability, and alleviation of human suffering, as well as those associated with terrorism-are not easy to identify in ways that the American people and their leaders would readily embrace. Moreover, the early record of U.S. engagement in Central Asia immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union and through the 1990s was not a positive one, resulting in mutual disappointments in Washington and the Central Asian capitals. That record offers important lessons that will be considered in the article."
Strategic Forum (December 2002), no.195
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