Vice President Dick Cheney's May visit to Kazakhstan and his subsequent criticism of Russia spotlight the rebirth of a centuries-old "Great Game" of geopolitical maneuvering by outside powers for control of Central Asia. Rather than campaigns waged between Russia and Britain for trade routes to India, however, the current struggle is for access to Caspian Sea hydrocarbon resources. While a May 8, 2006 Associated Press article credits Cheney with lambasting Putin for "reversing democratic reforms and using energy reserves as blackmail to gain political leverage," his comments also served as a warning to other great powers involved in Central Asia: the Great Game has a new player. More specifically, Cheney's criticism of Russia reflects the tension arising from U.S. attempts to secure Kazakhstan's cooperation in the construction of a trans-Caspian oil pipeline from Aktau to Baku that would feed into the newly-created (and U.S. supported) Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Such a deal would, in effect, break Russia's oil export monopoly in the Caspian Sea region.

The United States' entry into Central Asia has equally important -- and potentially more dangerous -- implications for another veteran player of the Great Game: Iran.
Great Game- still relevant