And, Someone Gets It…

by Nathan Hamm on 10/16/2004 · 3 comments

From the Times Online:

As laudable as Mr Murray’s motives were (as long as they do not include hawking a book), his methods were self-indulgent. His “reassignment” ends two years of worsening relations with his superiors during which they have frequently cautioned him on aspects of his personal life and denied (hardly believably) any discomfort over his increasingly strident criticism of the Uzbek regime and of the Foreign Office itself. The chronology of Mr Murray’s falling-out with London supports his contention that the Government became concerned because of his outspokenness and subsequently sought personal grounds for his removal.

This does not mean, however, that Mr Murray was right to reinvent his role as that of semi-official mouthpiece for Uzbekistan’s human rights activists and one-man crusade against Western foreign policy.

More below the fold.

As ambassador he had unique access to that regime via channels closed even to the most assiduous journalists, and his duty was to use them to advance Britain’s interests, especially in security and trade, as well as those of Uzbekistan’s oppressed dissidents and moderate Muslims. He described himself this week as a “victim of conscience”. If so, the right time to salve his conscience, and the most effective time from the point of view of those he seeks to help, would have been at a post-resignation press conference. Mr Murray is guilty of naivety.

They caution that his failings shouldn’t obscure Uzbekistan’s very real shortcomings and that continued relations should yield reforms. Of course, close attention to the situation reveals that there has been improvement, even if it has been slow and uneven.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Laurence October 17, 2004 at 12:56 am

Nathan, thank you for the follow=-ups! I’m at the Central Eurasian Studies Society conference at the University of Indiana, Bloomington, so have missed a lot. One interesting thing to note is that RFE/RL has been strangely silent on the Murray scandal, which seems to be growing bigger, not smaller, as he makes more charges and newspapers run editorials! Not a story worth covering? Are they being censored? Pathetic…

Tatyana October 17, 2004 at 8:39 am

Or may be they see the there is nothing to gain anymore by their affiliation with Murray? There soon be other ambassador in Uzbekistan, and they will have to work with him, and in their interests (material, too, not only in terms of corteous conversation), at least appear neutral, if not immediately kicking the dead horse…

Laurence October 17, 2004 at 11:17 am

Tatyana, You are right perhaps, but a nonpartisan news organization should not be following a political agenda, it should report news when it happens…

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