The entire affair was a muted blessing of this group of psychopaths, tyrants, and incompetents, a mark of respect not one of those Hell-holes deserves.
However brief its renewed moment in the sun, it appears Russia may once again be called an empire — and all for a few billions of dollars.
Those countries that are working toward Western ideals, however haltingly, are the good ones. The satrapies of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan do not care, and so medieval brutalities are commonplace.
Everyone — Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, possibly Timur himself — want a piece of the valley and have legitimate and highly contested claims to it.
Lest it be thought that Karimov and his corrupt regime have no value, they are providing a lesson: the Soviet Union left a great many idiots behind in its wake, and those idiots are unconcerned with anything but their own enrichment.
An end to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would end reliance on Russian military power; an end to blaming the grandchildren of the Ottomans for the sins of a long-fallen empire would allow new trading vistas and hope to open again.
Today, as Russia and China tussle over the post-American world on the continent, Ashgabat and Tashkent can become secondary beneficiaries of the energy and commerce that will move through the area.
It probably struck everyone involved as terribly clever, the problem is that someone left it to Kyrgyzstan’s government to execute it.
Every great power in the region is courting the landlocked little crossroads within an inch of its life.
There is a tragedy here, one that goes even beyond the thousand and one failures of governance that marks this as perhaps the very worst run of the former Soviet Republics.