Foreign Policy

Obama's Central Asia Realism

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One eternal problem of U.S. interventionism is that the logistics of it all necessitate playing kissy-face with dictators. Since Barack Obama campaigned on, and is delivering on, a promise to intensify U.S. military action in Central Asia, this is leading to predictable presidential footsie with regimes hostile to American values. From today's New York Times:

Many opposition politicians and independent journalists have been arrested, prosecuted, attacked and even killed over the last year as the Kyrgyz president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, has consolidated control in advance of elections on Thursday, which he is all but certain to win.

Our good friend

"This is how the authorities rule in Kyrgyzstan," said [beaten Bakiyev opponent Emilbek] Kaptagaev, 52. "They use criminal methods to keep power."

The United States has remained largely silent in response to this wave of violence, apparently wary of jeopardizing the status of its sprawling air base, on the outskirts of this capital, which supports the mission in Afghanistan. Indeed, the Obama administration has sought to woo the Kyrgyz president since he said in February that he would close the Manas base.

In June, President Obama sent a letter to Mr. Bakiyev praising his role in Afghanistan and the campaign against terrorism. Mr. Bakiyev allowed the base to stay, after the United States agreed to pay higher rent and other minor changes.

The lack of criticism of Mr. Bakiyev underscores how the Obama administration has emphasized pragmatic concerns over human rights in dealings with autocratic leaders in Central Asia. Under pressure in Afghanistan, the administration has feared alienating nearby countries whose support is increasingly important.

This is one of many reasons why Central Europe's anti-communist generation is worried about the new president.

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  1. Great point. I think our officials shouldn’t deal with anyone who scores less than a 95 on the Libertarian Purity Test. Roosevelt was so stupid to help those awful allies.

  2. qwerty, i’ve got a better idea: how about the US stops being the world’s policeman, so we don’t need to have airbases in tinpot dictatorships at all?

    Fuck Obama’s central Asian realism, yo. (And Bush’s, while we’re at it.)

  3. Since Barack Obama campaigned on, and is delivering on, a promise to intensify U.S. military action in Central Asia, this is leading to predictable presidential footsie with regimes hostile to American values.

    Matt, doesn’t the Obama White House qualify as a “regime hostile to American values”?

  4. “This is how the authorities rule in Kyrgyzstan,” said [beaten Bakiyev opponent Emilbek] Kaptagaev, 52. “They use criminal methods to keep power.”

    Obama should be used to that. That is also how authorities rule in Chicago.

  5. PIRS,

    “This is how the authorities rule in Kyrgyzstan,” said [beaten Bakiyev opponent Emilbek] Kaptagaev, 52. “They use criminal methods to keep power.”

    I was waiting for someone to reprint that quote with “in Kyrgyzstan” crossed out, followed by “fixed that for you.” I guess your comment will have to do.

  6. Mad Max,

    For some reason I can never seem to get formatting such as that to stick when I hit the Submit Comment button. I do not know why.

  7. I missed where Kyrgyz (or Iranian, or Honduran, etc) election law became a legitimate concern of the US government. Your landlord’s personal life is none of your business.

  8. But we have no problem bullying Honduras over the legal* ouster of a president who was thumbing his nose at the Honduran constitution, intent on using mob rule to create a (Bolivarian) dictatorship.

    Fuck you, Secretary Clinton.** Fuck you very much.

    * My teeth grate every time some dumbass newsman, ignorant politician or run of the mill idjit call it a military coup.

    ** Your boss too.

  9. I agree J sub D, I wish the U.S. Congress had as much respect for the U.S. Constitution as the Congress and military of Hondurus.

  10. Heck I wish the U.S. Military would oust OUR president and every member of Congress except Paul and Flake.

  11. Heck I wish the U.S. Military would oust OUR president and every member of Congress except Paul and Flake.

    I would keep Kucinich, too. He is harmless and lovable when he is not a member of a gang.

  12. Obama’s entire administration is horrible at foreign policy. His goal of making sure that no world leader dislikes us is leading him to court dictatorships and dis allies. There’s around 200 countries out there. By random chance, at least a hand few of national leaders will hate us no mater what we do.

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