The Great Power Competition Narrative
Once a central point of competition in the 19th Century "Great Game" between the Russian and British Empires, with Afghanistan as the "pull-and-tug" buffer zone, the Greater Central and South Asia regions have once again become the theater for a Great Power Competition for influences, resources, and interests with the new actors involving the Global Powers: the United States, China, and Russia along with the Regional Powers: Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and the Central Asia and Arab countries.
A key component of the United States' national security is the global relationship between the U.S. and existing and emerging military and economic powers. These rising powers and their threat to the U.S. status, as a Global Power, has led to the emergence of the Great Power Competition. More specifically, the National Defense Strategy asserts that "the central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition by ... revisionist powers," specifically China, as an economic, technological, and political competitor, and Russia, as a military opportunist power.
The crossroad of Great Power Competition is the Central Region (the Middle East, Horn of Africa, Central Asia, and South Asia). Both China and Russia see opportunities to dominate and influence the Central Region while the stated U.S. intent is to shift to other regions. Countering these revisionist powers will require not only an understanding of their strategic objectives, perspectives, and the challenges that limit their competitive mobilization, but also the identification of common areas of interest and potential pathways to more holistic approaches, intersections, and/or cooperative efforts in combatting terrorism and transnational organized crime in areas such as Afghanistan and Syria, in deterring Iranian aggressive affronts, and in reigning in a nuclear North Korea.
The Great Power Competition Conference Series, which will take place twice a year for nine years at the University of South Florida, Tampa Campus (see Next Scheduled Conference), will facilitate an understanding of Great Power and Regional Perspectives in the Central Region as it relates to (1) regional perspectives on the Afghanistan peace process, (2) regional perspectives on Iran, (3) regional diplomacy and politics, (4) regional economic challenges and opportunities, (5) security, trends, threats, and areas of cooperation, and (6) U.S. leverage of the information environment to support a stable region. With this deeper understanding, according to the National Security Strategy, the U.S. can create the required competitive space and security capabilities to prevent China and Russia from "contesting America's geopolitical advantages and try to change the international order in their favor."