Courtesy Reuters


In response to recent oil and gas price hikes, recurring blackouts in California, and other symptoms of a U.S. energy "crisis," both the Bush administration and the Senate have made national energy security a top priority. Whereas the Bush team has advocated increased domestic energy production, the Senate -- now under Democratic control -- has emphasized conservation. Neither side, however, has given adequate attention to international energy policy, particularly U.S. policy toward the Caspian region.

The countries surrounding the Caspian Sea -- Russia to the north, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to the east, Iran to the

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