Departing from the observation of initial U.S. diplomatic successes in post-Soviet Central Asia, J. Heathershaw wonders whether more recent developments ― not least the sudden breakdown in the U.S.-Uzbekistani strategic alliance ― do not indicate in fact the precariousness of the U.S. place in the region. He develops this argument by exploring the U.S.-Uzbekistani relationship in terms of partnership ― a discursively constructed and deconstructed phenomenon. Reminding that the Andijan massacre of May 2005 accentuated the differences in mutual representations and led the partners into opposing camps, he sheds light on the discursive contrasts between Uzbekistani testimonies of an equal partnership and U.S. discourses of Uzbekistani reform through engagement. In J. Heathershaw’s eyes, most geopolitical analyses are theoretically inadequate since they fail to grasp the intrinsically illusory nature (underlined by the Redaction) of this partnership and its implications for Central Asia in international politics. In both cases political imaginaries have proved enduring and stronger than principles. Combined with traditional geopolitical analysis, they have precluded any substantial reflexivity. For Uzbekistani policy-makers the otherness of the USA was confirmed by its commitment to human rights, when for U.S. policy-makers the otherness of Uzbekistan was confirmed by its ‘Asian’ approach to dissent.