A Second Chance in Kyrgyzstan?

Mitchell, Lincoln A.

Regardless of how events play out in Kyrgyzstan, it is now clear that U.S. policy there in recent years has been misguided. The U.S. allowed itself to be manipulated into supporting a government that was not only corrupt and undemocratic but also weak and incompetent because of the strong need to have access to the Manas Air Force Base which is only a few miles from Bishkek. The Manas Air Force Base plays a key role in transporting troops and materials to support the U.S. led effort in Afghanistan, so the U.S. was forced to accede to the demands of the Bakiev regime in exchange for access to the base. The U.S. largely overlooked the ample shortcomings of this key Central Asian regime because of the base. The failure of the U.S. to speak out against the increasingly authoritarian Kyrgyz government was not lost on the beleaguered opposition-the same beleaguered opposition which is currently running the country.

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Academic Units
Harriman Institute
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October 20, 2011