The Kyrgyz Republic’s new leadership has a unique chance to alter the Central Asian nation’s development course – creating an environment where democratic and economic reforms can take root. The Tulip Revolution of 2005 failed to fulfill its democratization potential. The US government must do all it can to help Kyrgyzstan to seize on this second opportunity. In doing so, the United States can demonstrate its longstanding commitment to Central Asia’s stability, and show, more broadly to the world, that the security-democratization debate is not a zero-sum game.
There has been a growing worry within Kyrgyzstan that the United States cares more about its security needs than those of the Kyrgyz people. We must prove this perception false, with actions rather than with rhetoric.
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Sen. John Kerry, Democrat from Massachusetts, is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.