The first of a three-volume series on the interaction of the United States and China in different regions of the world, this book explores the delicate balance of competing foreign interests in this resource-rich and politically tumultuous region. It assesses the different objectives and strategies the United States and China deploy in the region and examines how the two world powers are indirectly competitive with one another for influence in Central Asia. While the United States is focused on maintaining and supporting its military forces in neighboring states, China has its sights on procuring natural resources for its fast-growing economy and preventing the expansion of fundamentalist Islam inside its borders. The book covers important issues such as the creation of international gas pipelines, the challenges of building crucial transcontinental roadways that must pass through countries facing insurgencies, the efforts of the United States and China to encourage and provide better security in the region, and how the Central Asian countries themselves view their role in international politics and the global economy. It also covers key outside powers with influence in the region; Russia, with its historical ties to the many Central Asian countries that used to belong to the USSR, is perhaps the biggest international presence in the area, and other countries on the region's periphery like Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and India have a stake in the fortunes and future of Central Asia as well.