US strategy is producing major blowback.
One fact is clear: “velvet revolutions” stage-managed by the United States in Georgia and Ukraine, and then carried over to Kyrgyzstan, are threatening to explode in volatile Central Asia.
At the time of the Kyrgyz coup, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confidently predicted that it was just a beginning, saying: “We know where we want to go.”
The events in Andijan showed they do not know. The U.S., which has a military base in Uzbekistan, has nothing to gain and all to lose from destabilisation in Central Asia’s most populous state, which moreover has a common border with Afghanistan.
From DJ Mitchell
I’ve been following the reports of spreading unrest in Uzbekistan, where protesters are demanding more freedom. Almost every news report describes the Karimov regime as “one of the most repressive in the world,” “frequently cited for human rights violations,” and “a staunch U.S. ally in the war on terror.”
Early protests were blamed on Islamists. That apprently won’t fly anymore as the protests have become broad-based. Nevertheless, if the U.S. supports the repressors, to whom will freedom-seeking people turn? Usually those who oppose us.
When will our government learn to pick its friends better?
This isn’t a mistake, not a temporary error of judgement. Choosing brutal dictators for allies has been deliberate US policy for decades.
What if we had supported Ho Chi Minh when he sought our help in 1948 (as our own advisors recommended)? Not overthrown democracy in Iran in 1953 and installed the Shah? Not supported Saddam Hussein for all those years? Or demanded democratic reform in Uzbekistan before it reached the boiling point?
Certainly we would be better liked in the world. Perhaps a few wars could have been prevented. And it is possible– perhaps even likely– that power in these nations would be in the hands of moderates and not extremists today.
We, the American people, get the blame for these tragic errors. Yet what can we, the average American citizens, do to change our government’s course?
Like the Pete Seeger song says, “When will they ever learn?”
When there’s enough dissent, then they will be forced to change – or driven from power.