Kyrgyzstan’s Manas Ploy

So in the end, Kyrgyzstan’s threat to close the Manas air base we’ve been using to supply the Afghanistan war effort was just a bargaining ploy. A successful one, at that, since it almost quadrupled the yearly lease we’re paying, while apparently rolling back the terms to now include the transit of only non-military supplies. (Question: What are we going to shoot at the bad guys in Afghanistan once we can’t ship in any ammo anymore?)

Some folks might read this as a U.S. victory over Russian meddling. But the fact that the terms of the lease have now been harmonized to the Russian position suggets that Moscow was on board with the decision.

So unless the Russians make them hand back over the $2-billion loan that supposedly bought the eviction notice in the first place, this is an “and” situation for Kyrgyzstan, not an “either/or.” If anything, the whole episode reflects the fact that we handled the negotiations over what amounts to a trifling sum pretty badly.