Combining the previous chapters’ discussions of major aspects of the Bush administration’s bilateral relations with the Central Asian states allows a broader picture of how this administration understood and pursued its interests in this region and of the relationships between these interests. Democracy promotion, the war on terror, and energy interests played central roles in the administration’s policies. Democracy promotion involved attempts to make the Central Asian states more politically liberal and open. This was done through support for civil society and attempts to directly influence government policies. The war on terror was pursued by securing Central Asian support for the war in Afghanistan, providing security and law enforcement assistance to local governments, placing pressure on Iran, and working to reduce the regional and domestic factors that were believed to contribute to radicalism and instability. Energy interests revolved around encouraging the development of the region’s oil and gas resources (preferably by US firms), reducing Moscow’s control over Central Asia’s energy exports and Europe’s imports via support for the construction of non-Russian pipelines, and attempts to exclude Iran. The ways in which the Bush administration understood and pursued these interests were largely consistent with the concept of complex interdependence. That is, the US behaved as a non-unitary state with an ambiguous hierarchy of interests. Sub-state and non-state actors played significant roles and several traditionally domestic issues were internationalised. The administration’s policies were shaped by two other factors as well. One was the neglected and poorly understood state of the region. The other was the influence of liberal beliefs about connections between US interests. This influence was the result of the US tendency to combine aspects of both realism and liberalism in the formation of foreign policy. Drawing on these ideas, the administration and its supporters generally argued for a harmonious relationship between its various interests. This controversially included the promotion of liberal values. The administration’s critics, in turn, played up the conflicts (whether symbolic or actual) between its policies and the promotion of democracy. In this debate, both sides exaggerated. The Bush administration’s record in Central Asia showed that the US faced considerable limits to the effectiveness of its policies. It also showed, not incidentally,

important limits to the connections, whether negative or positive, between US interests.