Monday, January 31, 2005

Our Sonofabitch

Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation has something up about Islam Karimov.

There are bastards in this world with whom we need to make nice. As I have stated in the past, however, I am resolutely unconvinced that Islam Karimov is one of them. There are perfectly good reasons for it, of course, mostly geopolitical, but if we look at Uzbekistan itself it is clear that Karimov is part of the problem. Not only is he a torturer on a grotesque scale, but he is active in suppressing even moderate Muslims in a manner that is the policy equivalent of trying to sit on top of a pressure cooker. Now he's playing funny buggers again.

If policy towards Uzbekistan is to be brought to book, history indicates that Congress is the forum that is best suited to applying leverage. Whether Republican or Democrat dominated, it has consistently been ahead of successive administrations on the matter of human rights. The cynic may argue that in a number of these cases (though I'm not necesaarily arguing this. I think by and large the congressional record has been creditable on both sides of the aisle) this has been a case of noisy consciences being exercised without broader responsibility. In this case, however, I feel there is good cause for concern on both moral and - more importantly - pragmatic counts.

Americans, pester your elected representatives. Brits, remember the case of Craig Murray.

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