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Kazakhstan Between Two Powers: Has Kazakhstan—the biggest and most powerful of those ‘Stan countries—come back to our side? Yes. And no. Its foreign minister told Washington Times reporters that his country would continue to support US operations in Central Asia. That’s good, the US needs infrastructure support and other kinds of help in Central Asia. Still, he stated unequivocally that China, the new 800-pound gorilla in the area, has everyone’s attention. China is the main reason that US ties with Central Asia nations—including Kazakhstan—have cooled recently.