Remember Andijon

Robert Mayer of Publius has an impassioned and eloquent plea for the US to not ignore the massacre at Andjion, Uzbekistan:

There are many issues for the United States government to consider, including the influence of both Russia and China, the potency of Islamic terrorists in the region, and the lengths to which Karimov will go to suppress his people. One wrong move and it could throw the country into the wrong arms. I think that move would be hesitating to take a hard stance against the Karimov regime. When, inevitably, Uzbekistan comes to reform, the people are going to remember who their friends were when they lived under a government they hated.

Karimov’s brutalization of the pro-democracy protestors at Andijon was an act that should result in his ouster. There are times when realpolitik has demanded that we reluctantly throw our support behind less than savory regimes. Now is not such a time – our national interest is tied to to the democratization of regions like the Middle East and Central Asia. The only way to defeat the tide of Islamofascist terrorism is by discrediting it ideologically. Democracy is consistant with the values of human rights and human aspiration – totalitarianism is not. We have to stand behind the values of democracy and human rights, even if it means making decisions that aren’t politically expedient in the short run.

One thought on “Remember Andijon

  1. I think it is important that thugs like Karimov are removed in the long term. In the name of fighting Islamic fundamentalism he has pushed civil and religious liberties to low levels in Uzbekistan. A former communist apartchik he is typical of the leaders that exist in modern day Turkestan. In another turkic republic we saw change as the people got rid of the despotic Askar Akayev. I hope that Turkey will play a role in encouraging democratic reform in the nations inhabited by its ethnic cousins.

    The toughest nut to crack will be Turkmenistan since they have no intelligentsia or opposition. The “democratic opposition of Turkmenistan” is a former Niazov general who was purged and is now in Moscow. As a professor of mine here in Turkey has said “Turkmen people are some of the most sheepish you will meet.” Which goes a long way in explaining how someone like Niazov could have become so repressive so quickly. I also had the opportunity here in Ankara to hear a pro-government opposition member from Uzbekistan speak. It was so bizarre, but shows how far the 4 turkic central asain republics (as well as persian tajikistan) need to come.

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