The turmoil in Kyrgyzstan
is complicated. It can be difficult to follow
story's many intertwining strands: the chaos on the ground, the politics
of the revolt, the history behind it all, and the meaning for the U.S.,
which leases Kyrgyzstan's Manas Air Base for use in the Afghan War. To help you find a way into the conflict, we have selected single sentence from eight sources to highlight the key takeaways, insights, and opinions.
- Michael Schwirtz, The New York
Times: "President Bakiyev had promised to allow democracy to
flourish in Kyrgyzstan, only to become what human rights groups called
an increasingly repressive autocrat."
- D. Dalton Bennett, The
Atlantic: "Bishkek is rife with uncertainty and apprehension, as
order dissolves further, looters swarm through stores, and roving gangs
flood the streets."
- James Joyner, The New Atlanticist:
"Expediency has trumped love of democracy in this case, as we
desperately wanted to maintain access to a key supply route critical to
our success in Afghanistan"
- Alex Cooley, Harper's: "The larger lesson
for the Defense Department should be clear: placating authoritarian
regimes with private contracts and pay-offs does not guarantee long-term
stability of relations; in volatile political climates like Kyrgyzstan,
it may, in fact, sow the seeds for discontent and political challenges
to the regime."
- Daniel Larison, The American Conservative:
"The latest events there should serve as yet another reminder that the
Bakiyev regime has been significantly worse for Kyrgyzstan than the
government Western governments and media outlets were so happy to see
overthrown in yet another 'color' revolution."
- Theodore Karasik, Christian
Science Monitor: "It raises the possibility of having to renegotiate
access to Manas again because these clans just want more money ... This
was a big source of income for these families who came to power” the
- Defense Statecraft: "The
Kremlin may see his overthrow as an opportunity to force the U.S. out. A
senior Russian official has said that Moscow will urge the new
leadership to shut the U.S. air base at Manas, commenting that there
should only be one base in Kyrgyzstan-the Russian one. "
- Steve LeVine, Oil and Glory:
"Yet the lessons of the indelible images from Kyrgyzstan go both ways:
For the trampled masses, they are a signal that all is not lost; for
those in power, they are a warning of how easily matters can get out of
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