David Trilling in Foreign Policy magazine described the Obama administration’s support for one of the world’s most cruel dictators. His article told how the U.S. Department of Defense finances covert propaganda via the Internet in support of the Karimov regime through its subcontractor, General Dynamics.
Gas-rich Uzbekistan, the most populous of the formerly Soviet Central Asian republics, has been ruled since before independence in 1991 by strongman President Islam Karimov, who is regularly condemned in the West for running one of the world’s most repressive and corrupt regimes.
Freedom House gives Uzbekistan the lowest possible score in its Freedom in the World report, while watchdog groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have reported on widespread torture and forced child labor.
The respected Russian human rights group Memorial says Karimov holds more political prisoners than all other post-Soviet republics combined, often through an “arbitrary interpretation” of the law. The overwhelming majority of those convicted are somehow linked to Islam. Memorial has found that thousands of “Muslims whose activities pose no threat to social order and security are being sentenced on fabricated charges of terrorism and extremism.”
Nonetheless, with Pakistani-American relations at a desperate low, Washington now seems more eager than ever to make overtures to Tashkent. In the past, Karimov has responded to U.S. criticism by threatening to shut down the supply route to Afghanistan. In 2005, after Washington demanded an investigation into the massacre of hundreds of civilians in the eastern city of Andijan, he closed the American airbase at Karshi-Khanabad.
So Washington’s expressions of disapproval have given way to praise. In September, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cautiously commended Tashkent for its “progress” on political freedoms, and, more significantly, President Barack Obama moved to end restrictions on military aid, in place since 2004. Then, during an Oct. 22 visit to Tashkent, Clinton thanked the Uzbek leader in person for his cooperation. A State Department official traveling with her said he believed Karimov wants to leave a democratic legacy for “his kids and his grandchildren.”
Source: David Trilling | Foreign Policy.
This is an example of both the militarization of U.S. foreign policy and the privatization of the U.S. military. Relations with Uzbekistan are a part of foreign policy and should be the responsibility of the U.S. Department of State, but this has been taken over the U.S. Department of Defense and a private armaments manufacturer. Note, too, that the pro-Karimov propaganda is directed at the world public, including the American public, which is being led to believe it comes from an objective source.
All this is necessary, it will be said, in order for the United States government to project its power on a global basis—in other words, for empire. But as the United States becomes an empire, it ceases to be a republic.
Click on Propagandistan to read the whole article.
Incidentally, General Motors Corp. has opened an engine plant in Uzbekistan. It will employ 1,200 workers. Click on GM Opens Plant Where Clinton Talked “Rights” for details.
Click on Choihona for news updates on Uzbekistan.
Click on Human Rights Watch for more on Uzbekistan.