Value To Big Powers May Not Be Enough To Save Kyrgyzstan

A year and a half ago, the world’s great powers were fighting like polecats over Kyrgyzstan, a landlocked stretch of mountains in the heart of Central Asia. The United States was ferociously holding on to the Manas airbase, a transit hub considered crucial to NATO efforts in Afghanistan. Russia was so jealous of its traditional dominance in the region that it promised the Kyrgyz president $2.15 billion in aid the day he announced he was closing Manas. With the bidding war that followed, Kyrgyzstan could be forgiven for seeing itself as a global player.And yet for the last week, as spasms of violence threatened to break Kyrgyzstan apart, its citizens have seen their hopes for an international response flicker and die. With each day it has become clearer that none of Kyrgyzstan’s powerful allies — most pointedly, its former overlords in Moscow — were prepared to get involved in a quagmire. Russia did send in several hundred paratroopers, but only to defend its air base at Kant. For the m