This chapter assesses the rising geostrategic and geoeconomic importance of Central Asian oil and natural gas for China and the United States, the most transparent source of Sino-American conflict in this region. The oil-rich states of Central Asia have been accorded a privileged place in the American and Chinese foreign policy calculations. As a consequence, these states may become the fodder in any Sino-American competition for geopolitical and geoeconomic predominance in the region. American diplomatic activity in Central Asia prior to September 2001 focused on creating an environment that would privilege American corporations in the exploitation of regional economic and financial opportunities. There has been a progressive realignment of the American military presence in Asia during the past decade. The United States has very slowly crept into the Chinese neighbourhood, from Singapore to Indonesia, from the United Arab Emirates to Oman, and from Uzbekistan and Pakistan to Kazakhstan.

in Limiting institutions?