Russia and Central Asian Supply Routes

As much as NATO coalition partners’ contribution to the Afghanistan War has been criticized over the years, it bears noting that as long as the war is a multilateral effort, Russia can’t hold negotiations over supply routes entirely hostage to its bilateral spats with the U.S.

That said, the fact that the tone out of Moscow regarding supply routes in general has been pretty conciliatory of late suggests to me that Russia was authentically on board with the Kyrgyz government’s decision to renew the Manas lease.

That reflects the fact that the last thorny irritant left over from the Bush administration is European-based BMD: NATO expansion is a dead letter for now, and the urgency to deny the U.S. a foothold in Central Asia seems to have faded now that Russia has demonstrated the ease with which it can turn off access should it need to.

So a little movement on the supply route front gives Russia some room to maneuver with regard to BMD, in a strictly bilateral arena, as mentioned last week by Jennifer Wright here on the blog.

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