The valiant effort of tiny Kyrgyzstan, the only one of the five ’stans boasting a parliamentary democracy, to get a regional two-year seat on the U.N. Security Council fell well short of its goal last week.

Despite a vigorous lobbying effort and, some say, strong support from Washington, Kyrgyzstan, population 5.5 million, managed to muster 55 votes, losing in the first round of voting to occasional U.S. ally Pakistan, pop. 170 million, which got 129 votes. That amounts to a first-round knockout and exactly the number of votes needed to reach the two-thirds majority and avoid a runoff.