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From the Silk Road to Chevron: The Geopolitics of Oil Pipelines in Central Asia

Author(s): James Fishelson

Journal: Vestnik : The Journal of Russian and Asian Studies
ISSN 1930-286X

Volume: 1;
Issue: 7;
Start page: 22;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: oil | piplines | US | Iran | Russia

Looking at the struggle between Iran, Russia, China, and the US over their preferred pipeline routes for Central Asian oil and gas gives a good glimpse as to the world's future geopolitical order. Despite the formidable difficulties in building pipelines, those four powers are converging upon the region with an eagerness that is almost desperate. In previous eras, a country's military was the sole arbiter of her strength, but today her economy has become nearly as important, if not more so, and all industrial economies – and militaries – run on oil and gas. The US and China desire those resources to fuel their power plants, factories, automobiles, aircraft, and armored vehicles. Iran and Russia want the pipelines to go through their territory in order to claim transit fees and use the resources as political tools. For each country wresting control of the Central Asian oil and gas is necessarily a vital part of its grand strategy.

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