By M K Bhadrakumar
On Sunday, en route to Astana, Kazakhstan, after a "very nice trip to India", US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters accompanying her, "I just wish I could have stayed longer in India". New Delhi must be one of a handful of capitals where officials from the George W Bush administration receive an expectant welcome, and the doomsday warnings emitted from New York and Washington do not seem to matter.
But there was another reason for Rice's trepidation as her jet descended to Astana - US influence and prestige in Central Asia and the Caspian region has again plummeted. Rice realizes there is hardly any time left to retrieve lost ground, and the Bill Clinton administration's legacy in the Caspian and Central Asia has largely dissipated. Central to this has been the failure of the Bush administration to handle relations with Russia. The stocktaking
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