Exit Strategies

Lessons from Kyrgyztan

The recent events in Kyrgyzstan can teach us a few lessons. First, the brief civil war and a second massacre of Uzbeks by Kyrgyz in the city of Osh are the result of another color-coded revolution.  This Tulip Revolution overthrew longtime president Akayev.  His mild crackdowns on corrupt troublemakers masquerading as democracy activists and the refusal to turn against Russia raised the ire of the usual suspects:  the EU commissariat, the State Department’s paladins of international democracy, and the Russophobes from the international NGOs.  Akayev was replaced by the hapless Bakiyev who was himself overthrown in April. So much for democracy = stability + prosperity.

Second, the massacre in Osh was the result of the Soviets’ tinkering with the ethnic balance in the volatile Ferghana Valley.  This area, populated by Tajiks (ethnically identical to Iranians who speak a dialect of Farsi), Uzbeks (Turkic Eurasians who consider themselves to be descended from Tamerlane), and Kyrgyz (Mongoloid descendants of Genghis Khan) was ruled as a single administrative area by the czars. The Soviets divided it among three different republics thereby including a large Uzbek minority in the Osh area.  It was only a matter of time until blood would spill. Something for us to think about when we’re trying to make bickering nations live together in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Third, Russia’s reluctance to rush in troops to quell the Kyrgyz civil war is commendable foreign-policy realism.  After all, Medvedev and Putin have their hands more than full with the Islamist terrorists in the Caucasus.  If only our decision-makers were so reluctant to get involve in Central Asian and Middle Eastern trouble spots. Don’t hold your breath on it though. To the Beltway boys, Russia is just an object of hate and derision.