Breaking reports, if true, vindicate a manuscript Alex Cooley and I wrote last year.* Whatever pleasure I get from saying “I told you so,” however, is outweighed by my concern about the complications to US operations posed by the potential loss of Manas.
MOSCOW – News agencies are quoting Kyrgyzstan’s president as saying that his country is ending U.S. use of a key airbase that supports military operations in Afghanistan.
A decision to end the U.S. use of the Manas base could have potentially far-reaching consequences for U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan.
Interfax and RIA-Novosti quoted Kurmanbek Bakiyev as making the statement just minutes after Russia announced it was providing the poor Central Asian nation with billions of dollars in aid.
Bakiyev is being quoted as saying that the Kyrgyz government “has made the decision on ending the term for the American base on the territory of Kyrgystan and in the near future, this decision will be announced.”
Kyrgyz government officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
*We’ve only sent it to one journal, which rejected it based on a range of positive to negative reviews. Because I’m a bitter and vindictive person, I am now going to point out that the decisive review rejected our contention that increased exit options for US basing partners and enhanced information about the deals the US cuts with other basing partners might (1) create upward pressure on rent demands and (2) even lead to the US losing some of its “light footprint” bases. This is exactly what has been happening, and may now have come to fruition, at Manas.