The Dust of Empire: The Race for Mastery in the Asian Heartland
Karl E. Meyer
When Charles de Gaulle learned that France's former colonies in Africa had chosen independence, the great general shrugged dismissively, "They are the dust of empire." But as Americans have learned, particles of dust from a remote and seemingly medieval country like Afghanistan can, at great human and material cost, jam the gears of a superpower.
In The Dust of Empire, Karl E. Meyer examines the present and past of the Asian heartland in a book that blends scholarship with reportage, providing fascinating detail about regions and peoples now of urgent concern to America: the five Central Asian republics, the Caspian and the Caucasus, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and long-dominant Russia. He provides the context for America's post-9/11 war on terrorism, for Washington's search for friends and allies in an Islamic world rife with extremism, and for the new politics of pipelines and human rights in an area posessing more of the former than the latter. He offers a rich and complicated tapestry of a region where empires have so often come to grief -- a cautionary tale for Americans and their Western allies.
Karl E. Meyer is the author of nine books, most recently the acclaimed Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia (with Shareen Blair Brysac). A long-time member of The New York Times editorial board, he previously was a correspondent for The Washington Post and is currently the editor of World Policy Journal. He hold a doctorate from Princeton University and has taught at Princeton, Yale, and Oxford Universities.