An Unkind Cut
by J. R. Nyquist, Global Analyst. April 9, 2010
A ccording to a news article by Simon Shuster, "Members of the besieged government of Kyrgyzstan suspect that Moscow precipitated the violent upheaval that has swept the former Soviet republic in Central Asia." In fact, the outgoing president of Kyrgyzstan has accused Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of instigating his overthrow. The Russian motive allegedly has to do with cutting American supply lines that are traced through Kyrgyzstan. According to Shuster, "The Americans have been pushing to maintain their cherished military base in the north of Kyrgyzstan, without which U.S. supply lines to the nearby war in Afghanistan would be significantly hampered."
Some readers may remember, that in my 4 January column titled "What to Expect in 2010" I warned that "American troops [in Afghanistan] must trace their line of supply through territory controlled by enemies or potential enemies." I further said there were four ways into Afghanistan, all of them subject to interference. This week, leading figures in Kyrgyzstan say that Russia is determined to kick the Americans out of Central Asia. After all, the Americans buffed out a nice Kyrgyz base for Moscow and all that remains is to take possession. Administration officials have admitted that loss of the base would be "a major blow." Since Afghanistan is surrounded by hostile Islamic forces in Iran and Pakistan, the safest route for flying in and out of the country has been through the Manas base in Kyrgyzstan. This morning Reuters is reporting that American flights out of Manas have resumed, but the future remains cloudy. According to Eurasia Review the Manas Transit Center will remain closed to U.S. military and contractor traffic until April 12. It is also claimed by Ferghana.ru that Kyrgyz President Bakiev hasn't fled the country and intends to "struggle," and that "many things depend on Russia" on account of Russia's support for the new government in Bishkek.
It has been alleged that Russia attempted to bribe the Kyrgyz government into kicking the Americans out of the Manas base last year. But the Americans kept the base, so Moscow gave the green light for a revolution in Kyrgyzstan, rallying its KGB and GRU agents in the country. It is alleged, in Shuster's report, that opposition leader Temir Sariyev admitted under interrogation that Putin had promised the revolutionaries his support. To be sure, the Russian prime minister "vehemently" denies these allegations, alluding to the deposed Kyrgyz leader's nepotism and corruption as the revolution's chief inspiration. In reality, of course, Kyrgyzstan is in Russia's sphere of influence. It belongs to two Russian-dominated security organizations and is thoroughly penetrated by Moscow's security services. Any local politician's attempt to assert independence from Moscow could only lead to events like those that have unfolded in recent days.
Will the Russian agents in Bishkek push the Americans out of their base? Will America's line of supply into Afghanistan be cut? Are these moves orchestrated to extort money from Washington, or does Moscow intend to throttle American forces in Afghanistan in concert with Islamist insurgents? It is being reported, for the moment, that the new Kyrgyz prime minister has reassured U.S. officials that the Manas Transit Center will remain open. Meanwhile, President Obama met with President Dmitry Medvedev yesterday in Prague to sign a nuclear arms reduction treaty. Since the American side has agreed to negotiate a further reduction in U.S. arms, the Russians may find it necessary to "play nice" in Central Asia. Well, at least until the Americans have taken irrevocable steps toward their own disarmament. As the American side has supposedly agreed to pull down all its anti-missile defenses as part of the nuclear disarmament process, it was almost humorous when a Russian S-300 dual purpose SAM/ABM got stuck in the mud while rehearsing for a victory parade in Ekaterinburg. The S-300, also known as an SA-10, is a Russian long-range surface-to-air missile which was developed to intercept aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles launched from the United States. In the arms control talks between the U.S. and Russia there has been no reported discussion regarding more than 10,000 SAM/ABMs used to defend Russia from ballistic missile attack. In other words, the United States is expected to strip its missile defenses bare while Russia is fully protected. (With this deal on the table, I might play nice with President Obama too.)
In William Lee's 1997 book, The ABM Treaty Charade: A Study in Elite Illusion and Delusion, we read that the SA-10 is part of Russia's regional ABM defense grid -- as admitted in Russian military journals quoted by Lee (on page 113 of Lee's book). Taking this into account, it is worthwhile to quote from John Derbyshire's profound work, titled We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism, where he states his main thesis: "This book is about what we have done to ourselves, to our society and culture. It's about the hopelessness of any project to save the situation.... It's about composing ourselves to a true view of humanity and human affairs, so that we can get through our individual destinies usefully and with maximum peace of mind in the dark age to come, preserving as much as can be preserved."
It may be useful to buy Derbyshire's book while you still have something with which to pay for it.
© 2010 J. R. Nyquist