Published in Issue 2 (March/April 2023), Letters, Volume 31

Sir,—Richard Pine’s letter (HI 30.5, Sept./Oct. 2022), responding to my article (HI 30.4, July/Aug. 2022, ‘Bram Stoker’s “Great Game”?’), usefully summarises the nineteenth-century history of the term ‘the Great Game’—a term used by British officials to refer to the competition between Britain and Russia for supremacy in Central Asia. The elaboration of this history of a term is interesting for the light it sheds on the imperial mind-set. Equally interesting is the term’s surprisingly long shelf-life. In 2008, the US ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Tatiana Gfoeller, reported to the State Department on her attendance at a lunch hosted by her British counterpart; the report came into the public domain courtesy of Wikileaks. The guest of honour was Prince Andrew, who was visiting Central Asia in his capacity as Britain’s special representative for international trade and investment; the other guests were representatives of British and Canadian companies with interests in the region. The prince treated the company to a livelier performance than might have been expected. Among other pronouncements, he asserted that the United Kingdom, Western Europe and the United States were ‘back in the thick of playing the Great Game’. ‘And,’ he added, ‘this time we aim to win.’—Yours etc.,

Norfolk, UK


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