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Friends with villains!
April 1, 2004 11:19 AM   Subscribe

"The OSCE focuses only on establishment of democracy, the protection of human rights and the freedom of the press. I am now questioning these values." -Uzbek President Islam Karimov
Can we really wage an effective war on terrorism by aligning ourselves with villains? Does it strike anyone else as silly that we've justified our invasion of Iraq with the removal of Saddam while pairing with his Uzbek counterpart? Lack of political freedom and rampant poverty has tensions mounting in Uzbekistan(1 2 3 4).
posted by Tryptophan-5ht (19 comments total)

 
Do not questin Dear Leader's wisdom!

Only He may decide whom our friends and enemies are!

Democracy left the US in 2000, replaced by an Extreme Court with a dictator who must not be questioned.

We love dictators and rigged elections. Rigging elections is what our shadow government does best. That and assassinations. Cronies = good, especially the corporate "bidness" ones.
posted by nofundy at 11:34 AM on April 1, 2004


I love those pictures from the memory hole of our officials falling all over themselves to blow this guy.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:46 AM on April 1, 2004


Sometimes the devil is the only one open for business. The greater good, and all that. It's called realism.
posted by gd779 at 12:08 PM on April 1, 2004


Look at the terror fighters doing their best to "protect America!"
posted by nofundy at 12:50 PM on April 1, 2004


karimov is a disgusting brutal fellow, a former communist, and a good one at that.
but, you cannot fight all the demons at the same time. middle east and asia are largely dictatorial. these dictators and presidents-for-life need to be taken out one by one - some militarily, the majority economically, politically.
No, this is not enough of a rationale to actively provide support to dictators that are currently convenient (it's enough to just adopt a passive stance). Luckily for Karimov however, as far as i know (please correct me if that is wrong) nearly all of the opponents he tortures / kills / imprisons are of the radical islam variety. Which makes me think that if he wouldn't be torturing them, they would be torturing him as well as countless others (their women, to just name one segment).
Aren't all the people the same and deserve to be treated humanly no matter how inhuman they may themselves be? Yes, theoretically. Practically, as gd said, the greater good is in denying the islamic extermists a larger power base in the region - which is what Karimov is handy for now, till places like Iraq (hopefully) stabilize.
posted by bokononito at 12:50 PM on April 1, 2004


Sometimes the devil is the only one open for business. The greater good, and all that. It's called realism.

No doubt those who fly jetliners into skyscrapers share the ethical sensibilities you express.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:52 PM on April 1, 2004


Nofundy: You're absolutely right. Not only should he be questioning America's current form of democracy (if you can even call it that) but Americans should be as well.
posted by banished at 1:15 PM on April 1, 2004


The world's a big place, fold_and_mutilate, and everybody has guns. This may be the best we can do for now.
posted by gd779 at 1:18 PM on April 1, 2004


gd779,
If the best we can do is a "somewhat" benign dictatorship under another name then count the world doomed...
posted by Elim at 1:28 PM on April 1, 2004


I forgot the delicious irony!

Pairing with the 'lesser evil' is exactly what armed Saddam with WMDs and eventually led to the sour relationship that gave us reason to fear him.

Osama Bin Laden and his ilk was once one of our 'lesser evils'
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:21 PM on April 1, 2004


who are we gonna buddy up with when Islam Karimov decides to hate us?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 2:22 PM on April 1, 2004


Chalabi ought to be coming along nicely around then.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:56 PM on April 1, 2004


Oh, and while I'm engaging in mildly off-topic Chalabifilter, check out this of articles puched into the mainstream media by Chalabi's INC's Information Collection Program. That's a lot of crap, and it's all lies, and it did as much as anything to bring on the Iraq war.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:58 PM on April 1, 2004


Sometimes the devil is the only one open for business. The greater good, and all that. It's called realism.

Yeah, that definitely explains the Reagan era's cosying up with Saddam and arming the Afghan mujahedin. (And it's ironic that after spending a decade arming Islamic radicals to fight Communists, it's now funding ex-Communists to fight Islamic radicals.)

Yes, the opposition groups in Uzbekistan are Islamic and radical, but were not considered particularly militant. Of course, a good way to make them militant is to be able to persecute them while welcoming American troops and aid money.

Practically, as gd said, the greater good is in denying the islamic extermists a larger power base in the region - which is what Karimov is handy for now, till places like Iraq (hopefully) stabilize.

Isn't, perhaps, the greater good in encouraging a culture in which non-militant Islamic groups can pursue their goals through a political process, rather than giving them ample excuse to take up arms and turn to violent methods? Just a thought, you know?
posted by riviera at 4:03 PM on April 1, 2004


Isn't, perhaps, the greater good in encouraging a culture in which non-militant Islamic groups can pursue their goals through a political process, rather than giving them ample excuse to take up arms and turn to violent methods?

absolutely. but the conditions are not those of a lab, where you can isolate what happens in uzbekistan from what happens everywhere around it. The political instability in the neighboring countries is of a very particular strain - a radical islam that seeks to institute its rule, not "pursue their goals through a political process". Their reference point is Taliban and Chechen, not Ghandhi - and so your thought seems to me as a theoretically correct, but given the context, a wrong assumption.
posted by bokononito at 6:24 PM on April 1, 2004


but once again, everything in comparison. if it was back in the times when the choice was -- pairing with the soviet union or with the mujaheddin (yes, taliban, yes, bin laden if he would've been a player back then), i would say definitely choose bin laden as your ally. Doesn't make him good, just a lesser evil.
posted by bokononito at 6:27 PM on April 1, 2004


The Greater Evil is the current American administration. The Lesser Evils are the previous three administrations (to be generous). Focus, people.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:28 PM on April 1, 2004


The political instability in the neighboring countries is of a very particular strain - a radical islam that seeks to institute its rule, not "pursue their goals through a political process".

This says nothing about the fact that, in many of the -stans that used to be in the USSR, the only organised opposition to the former Communists who took over the show and rebranded themselves as 'nationalists', then sold off their mineral assets to multinational corporations... happens to be Islamic, and organised through mosques and madrassas that aren't subject to state control. (HRW's reports are educative here.) This shouldn't be surprising: the Civil Rights movement in the US was, to a great extent, mobilised through churches, given that they provided the greatest scope for organising a community.

Indeed, it's by labelling nonviolent Muslim dissidents as 'Wahhabi' -- that is, lumping them in with the militants of other countries -- that Karimov justifies his human rights abuses. Rather like rounding up Catholics in Boston during the 80s because of bombs in Belfast.

So, when talking about a 'very particular strain' of militant Islam, you swallow the bait of the Uzbek dictatorship, and contribute to a state of affairs which may drive to militancy those dissidents who haven't already been boiled by the state.

So you're right: you can't isolate events in Uzbekistan from those of the region. But you also can't presume that they're simply a carbon copy of events elsewhere, because that presumption is the quickest way to ensure that they become so, thus turning the country into another Chechnya or Afghanistan. Focus, people.
posted by riviera at 9:57 PM on April 1, 2004


"i would say definitely choose bin laden as your ally. Doesn't make him good, just a lesser evil."

I reject the decision. Why did we need an ally in conflict at all?

Maybe this is a sign of my age, but from what i gather, the cold war was just a pissing contest. Am i wrong?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 11:42 PM on April 1, 2004


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