What was that about stopping the “drift” in U.S.-Russian relations?
My column at RealClearPolitics.com looks at the latest — Russia’s heavy-handed push to get (or, to be exact, bribe) Kyrgyzstan to shut down a U.S. air base essential to U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan: US Gets a Punch in the Nose From Russia
Of course, this is is not catastrophic news. Tadjikistan and Uzbekistan may step up to the plate. Kyrgyzstan may prove receptive to further blandishments from the U.S. (more money, less support for the internal opposition). The interesting part is that, as I point out in my column, and as a number of Russian commmentators have been pointing out in recent days, Russia benefits from the U.S./NATO effort in Afghanistan: if it weren’t for the allied troops, Russia would now have the Taliban problem on its hands. Yet Russia shells out a huge amount of money in loans and debt write-offs to Kyrgyzstan just to show the Americans. Not exactly the beginning of a beautiful friendship.