Sunday, July 31, 2005
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The revolution in basing affairs?
On the one hand, Donald Rumseld and the DoD have been engaged in a multi-year plan to reorganize and reposition the U.S. military. According to Thom Shanker of the New York Times, the repositioning of 50,000 U.S. troops from Korea and Germany back to the United States is complete.
On the other hand, Maura Reynolds and David Holley report in the Los Angeles Times that some countries are requesting that U.S. forces leave ahead of schedule:
Over at the Christian Science Monitor, Mark Sappenfield suggests that these recent developments suggest the complexity of fighting a global war on terror:
Another way of interpreting the data is that the administration is actually willing to put its emphasis on democracy promotion front and center, even in regions considered of geostrategic importance. The willingness to leave nondemocratic Uzbekistan while maintaining bases in democratizing Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan suggests that the U.S. is recalculating the requirements to be a long-term partner of the U.S. (This, by the way, would contradict what I wrote in Diplomatic History last month.)
The LAT report suggests that the Uzbeks might just be bargaining, so we'll see how this unfolds.
UPDATE: Austin Bay has more on Uzbekistan, although, again, I'll be interested to see if whether the U.S. and the Uzbeks wind up cutting a deal.posted by Dan on 07.31.05 at 09:40 PM
these recent developments suggest the complexity of fighting a global war on terror
Didn't you get the memo? It's Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism now.posted by: anno-nymous on 07.31.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
So that means if they are not with us, they're against us. It would be convenient if the protestors would form a government that would be "with us."posted by: Ernie Oporto on 07.31.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Ahem. It's GSAEF now- A Global Struggle Against the Enemies of Freedom.
Freedom is, of course, relative. Very relative.posted by: a nonny mus on 07.31.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Does anyone know why the USA cannot rely solely on air bases in Afghanistan itself for its Afghan operations? Common sense would indicate that bases in Afghanistan itself would be closest to the battlefields and major camps. And the US army corps of engineers should not have major difficulties in building new air bases. So what are the advantages of an Uzbeki airbase? Better security?posted by: Harmen on 07.31.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Yes, security and logistics. Both aircraft and stocks of humanitarian relief supplies require much less security in Uzbekistan than at Bagram. Flying missions into Afghanistan is easier from Uzbekistan than from other countries in the area, and the roads into northern Afghanistan from Uzbekistan are also better than the ones from the Kabul area. So losing the K2 facility will be an inconvenience.
In terms of America's global mission there may be less here than meets the eye. A democratic Uzbekistan is not that important to us, never has been, never will be. There are degrees of undemocratic-ness, however, and wholesale massacres of unarmed demonstrators fall well outside the boundaries of what the United States can accept in an allied government. The unfortunate public relations aspect aside, governments willing to overreact to this degree sooner or later become magnets for terrorism themselves, and we really don't need that headache. I could see the Pentagon willing to negotiate an extra six months or so for the K2 base in exchange for Uzbek undertakings not to gun down too many more people, but that's about it. Rumsfeld says we are prepared, and I hope he's right.posted by: Zathras on 07.31.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
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