More from Ariel Cohen on Uzbekistan

by Laurence on 6/1/2005 · 4 comments

In EurasiaNet Eurasia Insight – Uzbekistan: A Policy Proving Ground for Washington, Cohen analyzes Senator McCain’s trip to Tashkent. Here’s the money quote:

The State Department appears to retain hope that Bush will press ahead with his democratization goals. Phillip Zelikow, an adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, stated at a Center for Strategic and International Studies conference on US-Saudi relations that Bush was aware of the possibility that Islamist forces which are not pro-American may come to power amid the democratization trend, “and he is willing to take that risk.”

Cohen seems to be at the center of Bush administration policy, and his description of rivalry between the Pentagon and State Department sounds accurate.

Cohen’s implied conclusion–that Bush is willing to risk an Islamist government in Tashkent–sounds like the way the Bushies think, too. Botton line: Bush wants Karimov out. Of course, Chavez has hung on in Venezuela, which is a lot closer to the USA, so it doesn’t mean Karimov is toast–though it does indicate that the US State Department has decided to side with Islamists.

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Nathan June 1, 2005 at 9:06 am

The US State Department has decided to side with Islamists.

Come on.

Tim Russo June 1, 2005 at 9:16 am

The interesting thing here, Nathan, is that you may recall, Zelikow was the staff director of the 9/11 commission. If anyone knows how the democracy doctrine can affect the war on terror, it’s Zelikow.

And if Zelikow is arguing that Bush should take a risk in Uzbekistan, he probably discounts the notion that “the Islamists” are the likely beneificiary.

jonathan p June 1, 2005 at 3:31 pm

Lawrence, you amaze me.

The “bottom line” is that Bush wants Karimov out? Yeah, right. Karimov is so peripheral to Bush’s bottom line it’s not even funny.
Bush is siding with Islamists? Hilarious.

There are so few “Islamists” in Uzbekistan, it’s ridiculous. If they’re such a threat, where are they in Kyrgyzstan? The fact is that if Bush is really to the point where he is ready to apply pressure toward ousting Karimov (which I still highly doubt), it is only because his advisors have told him that Islamists would not have the support they need to successfully gain control in Uz.

Mark Hamm June 1, 2005 at 10:57 pm

WHile it might be a stretch from ‘implied conclusion’ to the stated bottom line, it is interesting to hear it stated that Bush accepts the risk of democratic movements by unsympathetic groups. Of course the proof will be in the pudding.

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