danalwyn: (Default)
So, in your bacon related news, it appears that there's been a positive glut of bacon, not to mention lobster, crab, and possibly steak in distant, landlocked Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (a country that is probably over a thousand miles from the nearest crab). This glut in meat is particularly striking given that Kyrgyzstan usually doesn't cut its pork into bacon-like strips (even though apparently they do belong to the tribe of somewhat-lax-on-the-diet Muslims).

At the same time at nearby Manas Air Base, one of the critical links in NATO's Northern Distribution Network, the network of military bases that provides supplies for forces in northern Afghanistan, officials report the theft of at least $40,000 in food over the past three months. These two facts about Kyrgyzstan are, of course, probably completely unrelated.

(Well, at least your defense tax dollars are going to make somebody happy)
danalwyn: (Default)
Well, whatever it was in Kyrgyzstan, it's over.

We don't know what it was, whether it was a revolution, a revolt, or what. We don't really know who's in charge, irrespective of what people say. All we know is that it was unorganized, it was violent, and mercifully, it was short. We know that so far the main army has declined to mobilize, and that the opposition is disorganized to the extreme, and that nobody knows where to go from here. We can only hope that their future is brighter then their past.

But what we also know is how dangerously restricted Afghanistan has made US Foreign Policy. The US should have dropped all connections with a man like Bakiyev years ago. His cronyism, his corruption, his dictatorial ways read like a list of indictments against his character and his government, and by all rights the US, which has keeps reaffirming its support for democracy, fairness, and rule of law, should have nothing to do with him. If not opposing him, we should at least have the sense to stay the hell away and wait for his regime to go down in flames.

But we can't, because we need Manas Air Base to supply our forces in Afghanistan. So we have to go back to the same bargains we made during the Cold War, cozying up to dictators whose unstable regimes were doomed to eventual collapse and failure, at tremendous cost to their citizens, paying them to oppress their own people in the name of freedom. Except this time instead of doing it to face down a monolithic Soviet Union, complete with massive armies and hordes of nukes, we're doing it to face down a handful of ragged, unwashed yokels living in the mountain country of Afghanistan, who couldn't fill a combat division if they all showed up to work at the same time. The game may be the same, but the rationale is getting harder and harder for the rest of us to swallow.

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November 2016

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