Russia vs. China in Kyrgyzstan

Perhaps NATO can spend its way into influence within the new government in Bishkek, but more and more, it seems like the leverage will play out between the Chinese and Russians, and it’s not clear if they agree on the issue of Manas.  From Richard Weitz in the Diplomat:

Beijing appears not yet to have made a formal decision on Manas and Chinese officials may find themselves equally cross-pressured. Manas’ location only 200 miles from the China-Kyrgyzstan border, combined with Washington’s longstanding military cooperation with Taiwan and Japan as well as its growing security ties with India, invariably has stimulated fears of US encirclement. On the other hand, Chinese leaders thus far have avoided directly challenging the NATO military presence in Kyrgyzstan.

China’s ambivalence reflects recognition of the advantages of havingthe United States heavily involved in suppressing potentiallyanti-Chinese terrorism in Central Asia. It also results fromuncertainties over the ability of China or Russia to manage theconsequences of a precipitous NATO military disengagement from theregion.

In all likelihood, providing the new Kyrgyz government canre-establish internal stability and agrees to meet the core demands ofRussia (respect Russian military and economic primacy) and China(suppress Uighur nationalism and protect Chinese nationals andbusinesses), Moscow and Beijing will accept whatever decision the newKyrgyz government takes regarding Manas.