Monday, May 23, 2005

Realpolitik Redefined

Stephen Schwartz and Bill Kristol have a short piece in The Weekly Standard about our Uzbekistan policy that's well worth a read. An excerpt:
But the character of the Karimov regime can no longer be ignored in deference to the strategic usefulness of Uzbekistan. The Taliban has been defeated, and, with the liberation of Iraq, the nature of the global struggle to which the Bush administration is committed is no longer exclusively focused on the destruction of terrorist redoubts. We are now committed to a democratizing effort that challenges tyranny along with terror as threats to peace and freedom around the world. The Uzbek regime that was part of the solution in 2001 is now, with its bloody suppression of protests, part of the problem.
This echoes almost exactly what I wrote a week ago about the doctrine of "sonofabitchism" and why what was once realpolitik is now in fact dangerous, antiquated idealism. We are at a fulcrum point; we can evaluate our relationships with bad actors like Karimov in terms of how we think they might help us now, or how we know they will hurt us down the road.

The alternative to choosing the right path is waiting for the mess to jump over the gates of our fortified embassies in Tashkent, Riyadh, Cairo, Islamabad, Amman and half a dozen other places. And, in light of 9/11, we may be lucky if that's all that happens. Do we really need to relearn the lessons of 1979 Iran?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree. Iran. Guess history does repeat itself. How about Bin Laden; isn't he CIA trained and allied with us during the fight against Russia's invasion of Afghanistan. Do we still have an air base in Uzbekistan? Another reason for lack of action is Bush's previous dealings with Enron and Uzbekistan. There not be blood in his veins but oil they say; and oil, as we know, is thicker than blood. Maybe we're just waiting until our Iraq military bases are completed; so it's not like we're leaving the area but just getting started.

5/24/2005 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of 1979.
I have an Iranian friend in his early 40s who was in DC in the late 70s and early 80's, when there were many pro and anti-Khomeini demonstrations.
He said that it has been established conclusively that the oil companies were funding the PRO-khomeini movement all along.
This makes sense, as the Shah was the head of OPEC during the oil crisis.

5/24/2005 1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Previous dealings with Enron and Uzbekistan? My God, now I've heard it all...

Seriously, suggesting oil is what Uzbekistan's all about is like saying "I have no frickin' clue about Uzbekistan." #54 worldwide proven reserves. Chinese and Russian companies are the only ones getting the contracts. No planned pipelines (nor do any make sense).

On the topic of the post, I do not disagree. We need to rethink our Uzbekistan policy, but it's not nearly as unconcerned right now with democracy as you seem to think. It's one helluva difficult country to get any work done in and both the US and Europe need to step it up there. There's going to be a lot of learning going on, and Uzbekistan will likely have a rocky transition no matter what. But storming our embassy? Doesn't sound like the Uzbeks I know. (Because, as odd as it may seen, many Uzbeks have an even more realpolitik attitude our government has about Karimov, "Ya, he sucks, real bad, but at least he keeps things relatively calm and predictable." And as that wears out, I assure you that the average Uzbek blames Karimov, not the United States, for their situation.)

5/25/2005 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking for information and found it at this great site... »

2/06/2007 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great site bbc traffic web cams production of cisco products yasmin expensive pill Www dealcafe com pop zyban jute loop area rug certification in financial planning in san diego buy tenuate ship cod compare video mp3 players Fico key west restaurant Allegra nunez pl protonix Wedding cards invitations stationery marriage partner dating Depo prevara zoloft interactions Baja california camping tours Hot e320 mercedes benz Graco harmony high chair clarion Buy fioricet online cod California society of plastic surgeons world no.1 affiliate program join free

2/14/2007 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Nice stuff. I found a cool news widget for our blogs at Now I can show the latest news on my blog. Worked like a breeze.

6/13/2007 2:22 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home