Punchline first, because it's good to laugh, even mirthlessly.
Set-up: Hillary Clinton was in Kyrgyzstan (oh, to be in Bishnek now that December is here) yesterday for five (5) hours to pay protection money, I mean, sign a deal to give Kyrgyzzies "a share of lucrative fuel contracts for a critical transit hub here for troops headed to Afghanistan," as the Washington Post reports.
While here, Clinton lauded Kyrgyzstan for taking the initial steps toward democracy, saying the people were "pioneers" among the former Soviet republics in the region. "Parliamentary democracy can help ease tensions between different regions and different groups of people," she said at the town hall meeting. " 'Compromise' is not a dirty word in a democracy," she said.
Clinton and Otunbayeva, the first female president in the region, appeared to form a bond, with Clinton extending her visit at the presidential building for a cup of tea.
Gag: Roza Otunbayeva came to power this year as the result of a COUP, which was swiftly supported (enabled?) by Russia's Putin.
Coup is democracy, baksheesh is displomacy -- what other Newspeak do we have today?
From the Post story:
Clinton's announcement, made during a five-hour visit to the fragile Central Asian democracy, appeared designed to assuage growing anger over Pentagon contracts that have been worth about $3 billion over eight years to Mina Corp. and Red Star Enterprises, a secretive business group registered in Gibraltar.
Oh, that little thing. Yes, the Pentagon is pouring hundreds of millions of your tax dollars (or are they Chinese loan dollars, I get them confused) into a mysterious jet-fuel-consortium "owned" by the French wife of an "elusive" California businessman named Douglas Edelman, who, hold on to your balaclava, used to run a bar and hamburger joint in Bishnek. There is also a 35-year-old local "partner." And if you think the story couldn't get any phonier, Edleman's wife, the "owner" of the "secretive business group" wears the moniker "Delphine Le Dain" -- which I know will turn out to be one true thing in the story.
But anything to speed the transit of the American troops and fuel into Afghanistan so Uncle Sam can get to his public works projects, shoveling for the Taliban.
Back to the Post:
The new arrangement should also please Russia, which is expected to play a big - and profitable - role. Gazpromneft, part of Russia's state-controlled energy giant Gazprom, will probably supply much of the jet fuel.
Moscow has frequently used Gazprom to further its political and strategic goals, but the Obama administration is gambling that its efforts to "reset" relations with Russia - and the prospect of large profits for Gazprom - will help ensure that jet fuel keeps flowing to the U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan, known as the Manas Transit Center.
Every soldier headed to or from Afghanistan passes through the base, which also houses a fleet of American air tankers that refuel U.S. warplanes in flight over the combat zone.
The Manas base has helped the Pentagon avoid dangerous supply routes through Pakistan.
But it has also given rise to bitter feuding over who should profit from its jet-fuel needs. Tensions rose sharply last month when the Pentagon awarded a new contract to Mina, despite calls by Kyrgyzstan that Washington stop dealing with the company. The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry demanded that the contract be suspended pending the result of a government corruption probe.
Or at least give us something for our trouble....