Foreign Policy Blogs

Manas Air Base: 'Going Out of Business'

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Well, it looks like the Kyrgyz government has indeed decided to officially order the removal of American forces from the Manas air base.  US officials assert that negotiations were still on going, but Kyrgyz officials stated that the deal was as good as done.  It appears that Moscow has had its way as their large loan and aid payments to Bakiyev's regime, combined with what appears to be declining Kyrgyz-US relations, has pushed Bishkek into Russia's sphere once again. Alexander Lukin argues that it was mainly domestic reasons why Bakiyev and the Kyrgyz government decided to turn their backs on the Americans.  He cites growing civilian dissent against the foreign troops, pollution, an incident where a Kyrgyz truck driver was killed by a US soldier, and finally just the plain lack of progress in stabilizing Afghanistan and curtailing the drug trade and Islamic extremism. The Obama administration and US military are still no doubt trying to renegotiate this deal and probably offering the cash strapped Bishkek government more money and aid, but it will likely not be enough.  In fact, Russia's loan and aid could have come with the condition that US forces were booted out, making a deal near impossible to work out without Bakiyev turning his back on Moscow. It has been reported that part of Moscow's loan will be to build a new, much needed hydroplant in Kyrgyzstan and I just can't help but think that if the US much earlier put aid forth in support of such a project, things may have turned out differently.

 

Author

Patrick Frost

Patrick Frost recently graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science - International Relations. His MA thesis analyzed the capabilities and objectives of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Central Asia and beyond and explored how these affected U.S. interests and policy.

Areas of Focus:
Eurasia, American Foreign Policy, Ideology, SCO

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