The Great Power Competition Narrative

great game

Photo courtesy of tradingyourownway

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.


China, Russia, Regional Countries -- map courtesy of Mapsland  

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. 


Photo by theasus/Getty Images. Posted on TheRandBlog

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."  

Related Articles

The New Concept Everyone in Washington Is Talking About, The Atlantic.

Six Propositions about GreatPower Competition and Revisionism in the 21st Century, Perry World House.

This is Not a Great-Power Competition, The RAND Blog

The return to great-power rivalry was inevitable, Brookings.

The Need to Think More Clearly About 'Great-Power Competition', TheRANDBlog.

Great Power Competition = Risky Status-Seeking, Huffington Post,

Beijing's Bismarckian Ghosts: How Great Powers Compete Economically, The Washington Quarterly.

Competitive Storytelling Amid Gret-Power Competition, Asia Times.

Venezuela and Great-Power Competition, Atlantic Council.