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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has managed to surprise Central Asia and reverse the momentum of base closings in the region by changing Kyrgyzstan's stance on its American military base. The New York Times reports that Rice convinced the new Kyrgyz government to allow the US to continue its operations for as long as we need to maintain operations in Afghanistan:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, meeting with the new leaders of Kyrgyzstan, reached agreement on Tuesday on long-term rights to maintaining an air base here for servicing military aircraft on missions to Afghanistan.
The United States and allied forces may continue to use the base, adjacent to the international airport here, "until the situation in Afghanistan is completely stabilized," President Kurmanbek S. Bakiyev said at a news conference.
Last July, Kyrgyzstan, along with three other Central Asian states and Russia and China, issued a statement calling on the United States to evacuate all its bases in this region. A short time later, the Kyrgyz defense minister told Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld that the United States could continue to use the base.
At issue for the Krygyz was the manner in which the lease payments had been spent under the former Akayev government, which fled under a popular uprising last summer. The arrangement for the US base involved no payments to the government, but instead a guaranteed level of spending in the local economy for fuel and other supplies. To no one's great surprise, the new government believes that money got sucked up by the Akayev government, and they wanted the US to replace it. The report gives no indication that we agreed to do so.
Even if we had to repay part or all of the money in question, this would still represent a great and unexpected diplomatic win for the Bush administration. Kyrgyzstan sits in a strategic spot in Central Asia and creating an alliance with the new, democratic government puts America in the middle of a number of political and military dynamics. That not only includes Islamofascist terrorists and a significant line of communication for them, but also the proximity of the Russians and Chinese and their political efforts in the former Soviet republics. Given the difficulty and pressure that the Bakiyev government faces from the two giants at or near its borders, the agreement speaks to Rice's expertise in negotiation and toughness.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» The Great Right Hope? from Hard Starboard
Hey, look at what Condi did! This is a victory in the GWIF (Global War on Islamic Fundamentalism) that most people won't even notice or even see as such, which is why it deserves to be trumpted (via CQ): Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, meetin... [Read More]
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Something like that is happening to me. Too much news! Too much opinion! I try to read it all, and I cannot keep up. I don’t know how Michelle and Glenn do it! Moreover, I am convinced that while all this Miers writing is going on, importan... [Read More]
Tracked on October 12, 2005 3:45 PM
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