Supporting Russia’s Neighbors

From Steven Sestanovich in the Washington Post:

Almost all the states of the former Soviet Union are already working with Western governments, and with each other, to increase their independence from Moscow. When Kyrgyzstan lets the United States keep using its air base to reach Afghanistan despite Russian bribes; when Uzbekistan refuses to join a rapid-reaction military force that Russia wants to create; when Turkmenistan invites American and European companies to help break Gazprom’s grip on its energy exports; when the president of Armenia invites the president of Georgia (who is still denounced by Moscow as a genocidal murderer) to receive an award — all in the space of a few months, it’s clear that the geopolitical tide is moving in the right direction.

This trend does not mean that American support for Russia’s neighbors is unnecessary, only that it has a realistic chance to succeed. What Dean Acheson called “the added energy and power of America” will often be decisive. These states want military training and equipment so they can stand up to intimidation. They want the access to international markets that frees them from economic subordination. They want the diplomatic attention that allows them to resist interference in their internal affairs.