Senators Put Pressure On Uzbekistan

Three Republican Senators, John McCain, John Sununu, and Lindsey Graham have traveled to Uzbekistan with some harsh words for the government of Islam Karimov after the massacre of protestors at Andijon. This is a good first step, but there needs to be a strong follow-through including a demand that all jailed dissidents be freed after another crackdown in the authoritarian regime.

Uzbekistan is a major test of our committment to democratization. We should make it official United States policy that we will provide whatever support we can to help pro-democracy activists in Uzbekistan. The Chinese have been cozying up to Karimov’s regime, and unless we are willing to counterbalance Beijing in the region the gradual spread of democracy in Central Asia could stop.

America’s interests lie with a democratic and peaceful Central Asia. Tyrants like Karimov should not be tolerated lightly, no matter what ostensible support they offer. A military base is nothing compared to a region in the shackles of authoritarian rule. Senators McCain, Sununu, and Graham have done a valuable service by speaking out against Karimov’s actions and for the victims of Andijon.

3 thoughts on “Senators Put Pressure On Uzbekistan

  1. I know very little about this issue, but if John McCain and John Sunnunu are for it, I’m probably agin’ it.

    I figure even a stopped clock is right twice a day…

  2. The businessmen and protestors killed were not democracy activists but Islamists. However Karimov needs to learn that by dealing with extremism with harsh and brute force nothing positive is advanced. I suspect that if Uzbekistan had free elections Islamist parties would poll quite well. Karimov is a former communist apartchik who only knows strong hand tactics. The sooner he is gone the better. However in a democratic Uzbekistan the Islamists would have the opportunity to win through ballots and that will be new challenge for Tashkent.

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