US asked to leave Uzbekistan

Well now that the US has been asked to leave Uzbekistan, I think that we need to examine two things: the price we pay for strictly supporting human rights goals only and the need for some kind of realpolitik when the occasion calls for it. Not saying that those who wanted to criticize Uzbekistan’s government were wrong but I think this is a very good example of a gray area that frequently gets overlooked in self-righteous discussions of human rights. I think that there needs to be balance and even then, sometimes events will be out of the control of the US and its policy-makers.

This is why I think that those who love to post the picture of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam once and like to report on contacts between US officials and dictators need to step back and say what are the alternatives? no contact? limited contact as was generally the case? or a cozying up with them a la the French? If the US leaves Uzbekistan as it most likely will what kind of influence will the US have on the country and how capable of helping advance human rights will it be when it is outside the country with substantially reduced ties with the leadership? Just a thought.

[quote]Uzbekistan has called for the removal of U.S. military aircraft and personnel from a base that is key to operations in neighboring Afghanistan, U.S. officials said yesterday.
There was no official answer to what prompted the decision, although U.S. authorities tied it to tensions related to the iron-fisted response by the government of Uzbek President Islam Karimov to anti-government protests in May.
Hundreds of protesters are believed to have been killed by government security forces.
The government served notice that the United States will have to leave the Karshi-Khanabad air base within six months.
The government’s decision followed a trip last week by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to two of Uzbekistan’s Central Asian neighbors, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. During the trip, Mr. Rumsfeld received assurances from officials in both nations that U.S. forces can continue to use bases there. [/quote] … -4355r.htm

Frankly, Fred, although I generally agree with most of your posts, I have to ask the question: When has the US EVER “strictly supported human rights goals only”? The US has paid nothing but lip service to establishing / maintaining relations based on human rights, and it has been following a policy of “realpolitik” ever since I can remember (but OK, I’m not that old). And yes, for the Democrats out there, even under Clinton and others from the Donkeys.

How many examples do you need? Saudi Arabia, world’s 2nd most oppressive country (freedoms of every sort curtailed / non-existent) = US buddy. Pakistan has hectic sanctions imposed due to nuclear tests until the second it becomes a “major partner” in the “war aganst terrorism”. India the same. A half dozen other Middle and Near Eastern countries which have strategic positions; looking back a bit further, even the US’s largely kid gloves treatment of the Apartheid government with SA as the only “bastion of democracy” (if you happened to be White) in Africa.

The truth is that the US, like most (all?) countries, is only interested in human rights as far as it doesn’t affect their strategic interests.

Your question of engagement / isolation is an interesting one, but I am quite convinced that if bases were not already available in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan we would either (a) not have heard such comments to begin with (b) or have seen a retraction © or have seen a move to kiss and make up eg. a bigger aid package or something of the like.

Well said, DSN.

By 1990 or something like that, the USA became fearful of Saddam Hussein’s growing power and attempted to destroy his military might (?) in the gulf war of 1991, and set about bolstering Saudi Arabia in turn as the regional power.

After the failure of Iran and Iraq’s obnoxious regimes to remain American tools of power in the Middle East, the USA selected a third happy Middle Eastern country to use as a puppet for American interests and I quote:

"[i]In the months following the second Gulf war the American administration pumped over 800 million dollars' worth of sophisticated military equipment into Saudi Arabia in order that she might perform this function...[/i]"

"[i][b][u]Introduction to International Politics" by Heater & Berridge 1992"[/u][/b][/i]

Saudi Arabia is one of the countries with which the CIA agreed, in 1986, to provide Muslim troops for training; used to bolster the most extreme factions of the mujaheddin in Afghanistan (all in the name of human rights, of course).

Human rights? Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahah…

Doog thinking Fred. Perhaps Saddam could be ressurected. He seemed to have more control in Iraq than the present regime.

[quote=“Dangermouse”]Saudi Arabia is one of the countries with which the CIA agreed, in 1986, to provide Muslim troops for training; used to bolster the most extreme factions of the mujaheddin in Afghanistan (all in the name of human rights, of course).

Human rights? Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahah…[/quote]

Not so fast.

Look, of course the US does things that are in its strategic interest, and sometimes those things are not entirely in harmony with the effort to push the human rights agenda. But, certainly you can see the big picture, and understand that despite these apparent contradictions from time to time that the US has had for a long time as a primary goal of its foreign policy the expansion of democracy and human rights protection.

Sure, some sacrifices are made along the way. And it no doubt sucks to be the one being sacrificed.

Moreover, even if we accept that previous US administrations were less concerned with democratic reform and human rights in other parts of the world, it cannot be denied that GW Bush has completely changed US foreign policy in that regard.

The folks in the ME region recognize this:

[quote]From the NYT

[quote=“Jordan’s deputy prime minister, Marwan Muashar”]For decades, people in the region were only interested in political parties that offered national liberation. But now all the existential threats to the different states are gone. Now the focus has shifted from national liberation to personal liberation, but in all spheres: more equality, less corruption, better incomes, better schools. … Governments are talking differently, but up to now people are still skeptical. They have heard so much talk. …
The first country or party that really shows results will have a big effect on the whole region because everyone is looking for a new vision

The portion that I enlarged explains why Iraq is so important to both the US and its allies and to al Qaeda and other Islamofascist organizations.

I think that the extent to which the US has aided regimes or not fostered human rights has often been exaggerated by professors of sophomore political science classes.

Yet, when we compare the minor problems with the fact that the US was primarily responsible for bringing stability and democracy to Eastern and Central Europe, preserving it in Western Europe (I know this will rile DM but it is true) and East Asia as well as Latin America to some extent and even India to some degree, I think that we can realize that nations in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are going to be bad no matter what. It is only a matter of degree and by keeping a relationship with them at least we have the chance to ensure that Pakistan cracks down on the violence it previously used to export in great quantitites and the money that helped fuel it from Saudi Arabia.

You mean still exports. Just look at the links already being made to the London bombings.

Another interesting debate despite the fact it is dominated by shrill voices from the right. The current debate does nevertheless get to the crux of the problems facing the United States in 2005. The following, recent quote from Ms. Rice is useful:

“For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither,” Rice said. “Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.”
She noted that President Bush, in his second inaugural address, said the U.S. would not try to impose an American style of government on the unwilling and that the goal of his administration was to help others find their own voice.

This begs the question: Do you agree that a past policy of “double standards,” (one that is often rationalized as “realpolitic,” “prioritizing” etc. etc. from the right) was naive and, at worst, just plain dangerous?

60 years of a policy do not make it one of the Right or Left. It is one of the US. Realpolitik is not a specialty of the Right any more than Human rights is only a concern of the left. In fact, given the recent behavior, I find the idea that the left still cares about human rights at all laughable at least in the global context. The left represents oppression theories and race-based identity politics. I see no effort on their behalf to do anything about the long-suffering people of Middle Eastern nations. If I am wrong on this I welcome any input.

The left is a spent force with backward looking theories that have alienated them or made them irrelevant to national and international politics.

My point again is merely to point out that there are costs to fighting dictators like the one in Uzbekistan. I am not saying we were wrong to condemn him but I do want to point out that there is a cost and with the removal of US influence in the country and the growth of Russian and Chinese influence, what do you think will happen to human rights and advancing them in Uzbekistan now that the US has been displaced by these two eggregious violators of human rights?

From the right? Huh?