I am going to have more to say about this in another venue, so I won’t say much right now, but I would just point out that an important part of this Krauthammer indictment of Obama’s allegedly failed diplomatic approach is not correct. The causes for the end of U.S. access to Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan were many, and most of them were related to internal Kyrgyz politics and U.S. actions in connection with the base, as the former Kyrgyz ambassador to the U.S. under the old Akayev regime makes clear here. The wise thing would be to spend less time whining about Russia’s so-called “brazen provocations” and to spend more trying to understand how Washington lost the goodwill of the Kyrgyz government. One way to start would be to acknowledge that the Kyrgyz government is not merely a puppet, but it will drift into the orbit of whichever major power it finds most aligned with its interests.

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