The tragic events in Kyrgyzstan remind us of the most unfortunate chapters of Eurasia's recent history, when the news from the former Soviet Union was dominated by stories of conflict and violence. Over the years, the United States has participated in a mostly successful effort to bring about regional stability and development, and it is important to follow through with this long-term vision. The upcoming visit of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the South Caucasus offers a unique opportunity to do just that.
Some recently suggested that focusing solely on the U.S. military base in dealing with Kyrgyzstan was a mistake. Perhaps the issue is greater, because focusing on any single aspect in a complex Eurasian region is counterproductive. Experience has shown that neither detachment nor simplified, one-dimensional approaches can be winners here. Strong, sustainable partnerships are built on long-term strategic interests and understanding. Herein lies an important challenge the United States faces in Eurasia: Achieving both strategic and tactical goals requires outlook and commitment.