Monday, May 23, 2005

Quick thought on Uzbekistan

This Fred Kaplan article in Slate offers no real solutions to the festering situation in Uzbekistan, but goes along way in outlining why it is imperative for the Bush administration to find an alternative to Karimov's harsh rule. Things in Uzbekistan are far more complicated than the situations in Ukraine or Georgia recently (or even Azerbaijain currently) thanks to the overwhelmingly Muslim population. Yet as Kaplan notes, two factors take precedence here.

1) We do not need to give Muslims in the region another reason to hate us. At best we are loosely allied with the brutal Uzbek autocrat, at worst we are propping him up. This is yet another battle for hearts and minds in the War on Extremism that the administration cannot afford to lose.

2) Dictatorial governments around the world are beginning to heed the calls toward democracy, or at the very least have gone through the motions of doing so. To think that the Mubaraks and Assads of the world are not evaluating how Bush reacts to developments in Central Asia is naive.
UPDATE: Check out this post on TechCentralStation.


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