Great Game Essay

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The term "The Great Game" was originally coined to denote the political rivalry that existed between the British Empire and the Russian Empire during the nineteenth century. The two great powers clashed over interests in Central Asia, with Afghanistan at the epicentre. While the British sought a buffer to protect their crown colony India, the Russians feared that the British might undermine their power in Central Asia by inciting rebellion among the regional Muslim tribes. The threat of a unified Germany forced the two empires to broker the Anglo-Russian Agreement in 1907, which effectively signalled the end of the traditional phase of the Great Game. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left several newly independent nations in the Caspian Sea region, sitting in a power vacuum, where Soviet control once dominated them. Rich in both oil and natural gas, the Caspian Sea region rapidly directed the gaze of foreign powers to Central Asia once more, in what scholars are characterizing as the "New Great Game." As defined in this paper, the New Great Game refers to the geopolitical game played between nations to control Central Asia's energy supply. Unlike the previous phase of the game, it must be noted that the current phase is not rooted in territory, but something much more valuable. The prizes of the New Great Game are oil, pipelines, tanker routes, petroleum consortiums, and contracts. And the players have multiplied to include the United States, Russia and Iran as major powers, in addition to regional powers such as Pakistan India, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Although the original projection of oil reserves in the 1990s was estimated to be between 100-150 billion barrels (bb), pr... ... middle of paper ... ...al security, which I believe are the most pressing concern of our time. When considering the fragile Caspian region, there is a tendency to focus on the complicated geopolitical struggle that underlies the New Great Game. A to focus on energy security. Energy security, which has been the cause for several of the most recent wars of our time, including the war in Iraq. Yet global ecopolitics and environmental security, have caused wars of their own, and may still cause another. I have endeavoured to demonstrate the importance of environmental security in our lives. An environmental security crisis can leave a lake devoid of life, or transform a landscape into a wasteland. It can take a vibrant community and turn it into a sickhouse. It is my argument that environmental security should be brought alongside energy security, to the forefront of our political agenda.
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