What is Eurasia to US (the U.S.)?
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This article will analyze U.S. efforts to promote Eurasian integration since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 to the present as well as how Washington has reacted to integration efforts led by other major powers, notably China and Russia. The narrative draws special attention to the period after 2001 since this marked a dramatic departure for U.S. policy toward Eurasia to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. We will conclude with an effort to examine more closely U.S. policy debates and responses to China’s Brick and Road Initiative since its initial articulation in the fall of 2013. The central argument suggests U.S. efforts while experiencing some modest success at times have been limited first by Washington’s lack of strategic vision and unwillingness to allocate adequate diplomatic and material resources to make a significant difference. In addition, U.S. policies are being contested with growing pushback from Russia and what appears to be an overwhelming initiative from China designed to play out over the Eurasian supercontinent over the next three decades. Finally, the Trump administration’s ongoing trade war with China and stronger sanctions against both Russia and Iran, all implemented for different regions, would have the cumulative effect of subverting any broader strategy toward Eurasia, if Washington indeed wanted to have one.
The author would like to thank Kate Baughman, Rianna Jansen, Alexandra Memmott, and Lily Posner for their superb research assistance and the students of my Georgetown graduate seminar “Reconnecting Eurasia” in the fall of 2017 and 2018 for their many insights and contributions to my thinking about the topic. The author would also like to thank the Carnegie Corporation of New York for their generous support that made this research possible.