From Publishers Weekly

Conventional thinking on a possible confrontation between the U.S. and China assumes that the geography of conflict will be off of China's coast over the Taiwan issue or as competition for the Spratly Islands heats up. In his first book, veteran war correspondent Kleveman makes the intriguing argument that the challenge to U.S. primacy will in fact take place to the west of China's hinterland province Xingjiang over the resources of the energy-rich Caspian Sea and the surrounding Central Asian republics. The central thesis, that the U.S., China, Russia and Iran are now engaged in a New Great Game, a power struggle for control of the region's vast oil and gas reserves, is thinly woven through the narrative in what is largely a war zone travel diary. Kleveman, who readily admits his conviction that the recent war in Iraq was motivated by the interests of Houston oilmen, similarly treats the war on terrorism as little more than a pretext for the presence of U.S. troops in the region to secure oil interests and pipeline routes. Thus, the book gives the impression that Kleveman has selectively presented interviews with oil ministers and locals that lend his argument the most weight, while giving short shrift to those with opposing views. The work draws attention to a little understood and increasingly important part of the world where oil, Islam and terrorism converge to create havoc, but in the end, Kleveman fails to show that competition and not cooperation will mark the development of the region's resources.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.



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