Chris Seiple on Uzbekistan in Orbis

by Laurence on 3/2/2005

From Nathan’s link, I got to Chris Seiple’s article on traditional leadership in Uzbekistan, an interesting analysis from another perspective. The introduction by editor James Kurth is worth reading, too:

In contrast to the now-familiar Iraq, Central Asia remains the part of the Muslim world that is probably least familiar to most Americans. The most populous country in that region, and historically its most central country, as well, is Uzbekistan. Chris Seiple and Laurence Jarvik each have substantial experience working in Uzbekistan, and their articles help us to understand this important country. Both note that U.S. government officials and Western ngos have tended to support the Islamist groups that oppose the authoritarian regime, and both believe that these Islamists, who are often also extremists, provide an unsound basis for U.S. policy. Seiple argues that the United States can work best with the country’s traditional clans and moderate Muslims, which together compose a viable, if non-American, version of civil society. Conversely, Jarvik argues that the United States can work best with the educated, secular, and professional sectors, which were originally created during the Soviet era and which together compose a viable, if non-American, version of modern society. Both agree that American relations with the moderate and modern sectors of Uzbekistan can provide a model for American relations with other Muslim countries in Central Asia.


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