Washington Post: Replace Uzbekistan With Kyrgyzstan

by Laurence on 6/21/2005 · 2 comments

Post editor Jackson Diehl calls on the US to move its military assets to Kyrgyzstan:

All of which raises the question: Why should the Bush administration not begin to focus on Kyrgyzstan as a military and political partner, while conspicuously leaving Uzbekistan, and Karimov, in the cold? It’s possible logistically: In fact, some Air Force operations have already been shifted from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan at the impetus of Karimov, who has curtailed flights from Kashi Khanabad out of pique over the State Department’s demands for an investigation of the Andijan massacre. It would give a large boost to Kyrgyzstan’s democrats, who could argue to their countrymen that democracy brings vital rewards, in the form of a privileged partnership with the world’s superpower. And it would send a clear message to the Muslim nations of Central Asia: The United States will not support dictatorship, even in exchange for a landing strip.

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jonathan p June 21, 2005 at 9:48 am

Seems a bit simplistic to me. The jury on Kyrgyzstan’s leadership is still out, as far as I’m concerned. And completely isolating Karimov just further encourages his delusionary tendencies. Better to force him to acknowledge reality from time to time. Of course, the reality we force on him need not be “do whatever you want, as long as we get our base.”

Major John June 21, 2005 at 4:57 pm

Good. I wanted us to get out of Karshi-Khanabad for all sorts of reasons – even while I was still in Afghanistan. No use pumping money into Karimov’s pockets for an unreliable base agreement. The move to Bishkek-Manas would also serve as encouragment for the Kyrgyz to keep moving in the right direction too.

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