Posted by: cousindampier | 29 April 2010

Michael J. Totten on Kyrgyzstan

Totten continually updates with fascinating and well-written material. His latest post on Kyrgyzstan is insightful, educational, thought-provoking, and it even has pictures.

The primary question I have about the Kyrgyzstan revolution is the role of China. A number of reports have given records of Russian involvement and reaction; China is harder to find. Kyrgyzstan is in the center of the news of the past few months, in a literal sense. With Afghanistan to the South and Uygher China to the East, geographically it is important. More than that, James Kirchick makes a good point about American relations with the country:

Yes. Any government that either supports authoritarianism or soft-pedals opposition to it will be resented by the people of that country. I think this applies to our reputations with people in a whole host of countries, even Iran and Syria. We aren’t allies with those countries. We don’t even have ambassadors to those countries. But I think the people in those countries feel we aren’t doing enough to help ease their plight.

The people of Kyrgyzstan felt the United States was actively worsening their plight.

This “you’re with us or against us” ideology is far too black and white and Cold War-ish. Connectivity brings about this kind of moral change which America likes to embody, but in places where the connectivity is weak, moral authority counts for a lot. An air base is important for short-term strategy, but what puts America in a better position longer term?

I don’t have an answer for that – the air base may put America in a better position, due to the effect it’s had on the Afghan War. But making this type of question a common refrain would do wonders for the way Americans think about the world now.

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Responses

  1. […] Michael J. Totten on Kyrgyzstan “ Cousin Dampier’s Blog By cousindampier The primary question I have about the Kyrgyzstan revolution is the role of China. A number of reports have given records of Russian involvement and reaction; China is harder to find. Kyrgyzstan is in the center of the news of the past … cousindampier.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/michael-j-totten-on-kyrgyzstan/ […]


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