BOOK REVIEW | US Foreign Policy in Central Asia: Trends & Perspectives
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BOOK REVIEW | US Foreign Policy in Central Asia: Trends & Perspectives


Author: Vali Kouzehgar Kaleji 

Book Details Foreword: Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, Iran's Foreign Minister's Advisor and University Professor 

Publisher: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ordered by Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Center for International Research and Education) 

Date of Publication: 2015 ISBN: 978-946-31-747-9 No. of Pages: 498 

Language: Persian 

The Review:

The present book, authored by Vali Kouzehgar Kaleji, a doctoral student of Central Asia and Caucasus regional studies, discusses the United States foreign policy approach to Central Asia and Caucasus regions. 

As put by the author, the main goal of this research is to put forward a comprehensive study and analysis of the “foreign policy of the United States of America in Central Asia from 1991 to 2015.” The book uses a historical and analytical approach combined with the principle of “chronology” to study and examine the policies and approaches adopted by various administrations in the United States, from George Bush Sr. to Barack Obama, in order to provide its readers with a correct understanding of behavioral and practical models used by this country in this region during the past 25 years. Such understanding can greatly help Iranian policymakers in formulating a comprehensive and realistic policy toward Central Asia in view of such an influential factor as the “US foreign policy.” 

The remarkable point is to work out and use new mechanisms to promote regional convergence, with special emphasis on the “Greater Central Asia” plan and the “New Silk Road” strategy, which have been among the most recent and the most important topics followed by the United States of America’s foreign policy during recent years across Central Asia and regions around it. Implementation of these plans shows that the large-scale approach pursued by the United States foreign policy has changed from an eastern-western orientation (including Central Asia – Caspian Sea – Caucasus) to a northern-southern one (including Central Asia – Afghanistan – South Asia). In line with the “Greater Central Asia” plan, the United States pursues geopolitical continuity, while within framework of the “New Silk Road” strategy, it is seeking economic integrity of these three regions; that is, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and South Asia. These two steps must be therefore considered as the most important and latest development in the United States foreign policy toward Central and South Asia regions in recent years, which will have its own impacts and consequences for goals and interests sought by Iran in this region. 


The present book has been organized in five sections the contents of which are explained as follows. The first section is an introduction about the necessity of expounding the United States of America’s foreign policy in Central Asia region, and focuses on research background and literature. The need to theoretically explain the United States foreign policy in the region and introducing theoretical framework of the research, which points to the United States hegemony in Central Asia region, is another topic discussed in the first section.  The second section discusses goals and interests of the United States hegemony in Central Asia region and these goals and interests have been explained under four general headings: 

1. US hegemony and changing behavioral model in Central Asia, reason for changing US behavior in the region as well as opportunities and challenges ahead; 

2. Military-strategic hegemony in the region, goals, and interests of the United States from military presence in the region, and opportunities and obstacles lying ahead; 

3. The United States' economic hegemony as well as challenges and opportunities facing it in this regard in this region; 

4. The United States' cultural hegemony and the reasons behind problems facing Washington in this region. The United States approaches in Central Asia constitute the main topic of the third section of the present book, which has been discussed in four chapters according to a historical and chronological division as follows: 

*Chapter 1 reviews Washington’s security and strategic approach during term in office of former president, George Bush Sr., (1988-1992); 

*Chapter 2 is about the United States economic and strategic approach under former president, Bill Clinton (1992-2000) along with a review of strategic documents and performance of his administration in this region during his term in office;  

*Chapter 3 offers an analysis of security and strategic approach adopted by former U.S. president, George Bush Jr. (2000-2008) along with the United States national security strategy documents; and 

*Chapter 4 discusses and reviews Washington’s economic and security approach under President Barack Obama (from 2008 up to the present time). 

Unofficial layers in the United States foreign policy in Central Asia region constitute the subject of the fourth section of the book, where Washington’s performance in this region is discussed in two separate chapters focusing on American ‘think tanks” as well as “universities and educational centers.” Then new plans and programs of the US foreign policy in Central and South Americas and three distinct US strategies in this region are discussed in the fifth section. 

The sixth section of the book is about the United States' plans in Central Asia and Afghanistan after 2014, while section seven, which is the final section of the book, provides readers with an analysis of the United States foreign policy in Central Asia (1991-2015) along with the author’s findings. 

About the Author: 

Vali Kouzehgar Kaleji is Ph.D student in regional studies, Central Asia and Caucasian studies, at the faculty of law and political science at the University of Tehran and researcher at the Center for Strategic Research (CSR).


US Foreign Policy in Central Asia: Processes and Perspectives 978-946-31-747-9 Rating: 7.5 out of 10 IndraStra Global

Iran Review

This book review was originally published at IranReview's website on April 30, 2016.
Republished at IndraStra with due permission.