The Freeman's Burden:

To defend the principles of human liberty; to educate; to be vigilant against the ever expanding power of the state.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Uzbek Problem

Posted by Hello

What happens when real politik meets Bush's idealism? Well in the case of the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan the answer is a tepid US response to a viscous and violent crackdown of Muslim protestors by a Washington and Kremlim-backed knuckle dragging strongman, Islam Karimov. The US has a base in Uzbekistan and doesn't want to lean to hard on its leader despite his long record of human rights abuses and totalitarianism. If this does not sound consistent with Bush's "freedom is on the march" rhetoric, yet strangely familiar, this is the same kind of relativism and equivocation that was the hallmark of US Arab policy for 40 years. That didn't turn out so good. If you want another comparison, remember how Bush's father encouraged an Iraqi uprising at the end of the first gulf war, but refused to support the insurgents. Fast forward twelve years to Dubya's encouragement of democracy in the former soviet states. Georgia, Ukraine and Zyrgyzstan all just threw off oppression with enthusiastic encouragement from the US and the administration is actively encouraging it in Belarus (to their credit). But the US is less excited about representative government in Uzbekistan. What, besides the usefulness of an authoritarian ruler, could lead the US to have a different take on similar events there? Perhaps the fact that the oppressed populous is 88% Sunni Muslim and living next door to Russia which already has a Muslim problem in Chechnya and the Caucuses. I'm not saying, I'm just saying, if you know what I'm saying. Read more about Uzbekistan here and here. Learn more about current events there here and here.


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