Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Thomas Breslin

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Ralph Clem

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Peter Craumer

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Benjamin Smith

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


foreign policy, Central Asia, United States, military, terrorism, cybersecurity, cyber, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, 9/11, Cold War, Bush, Obama

Date of Defense



Rudyard Kipling once described and wrote about the Great Game as a way to outline 19th century great power politics in the struggle for empire in Central Asia. While Kipling’s tale of spy-craft and espionage is fiction, the political philosophy behind the story has never lost relevance. The struggle for political dominance in Central Asia continued through the twentieth century in the Cold War as well as into twenty-first century after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Although the great power players may have changed over the past 120 years, the importance of Central Asia has not.

This dissertation focuses on three aspects of United States-Central Asian security policy post-9/11: (1) military, (2) terrorism, and (3) cyber. The research initially describes US policy towards the region before 9/11. This is followed by a historical overview of US policy towards the region in each of the three aspects of security. Each chapter also briefly goes over regional implications for each of the aspects of security, followed by an analysis of the policy approaches using Mesbahi’s Tripartite Framework and Buzan et al.’s Securitization Theory.

What the research found was that US influence in the region may have started strong, but eventually diminished as regional powers such as Russia and China garnered greater influence. The ultimate demise in US security influence in the region came from the fact that the US’s primary focus was to ‘win’ the War on Terror and create stability in Afghanistan. This pushed the Central Asian states into a secondary role, thereby creating a lack of necessity for the prolonged exposure of US forces. The purpose of this research is to add value to the field of security studies and provide a greater insight into the role Central Asia played in the US’s War on Terror.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).