Cohen: “Karimov has overstayed his welcome”

by Nathan Hamm on 6/10/2005 · 1 comment

Writing for TCS, Ariel Cohen captures the policy dilemma the US faces regarding Uzbekistan:

The Bush Administration is facing a dilemma: Support dictators who profess pro-American policy, or push through democratization regardless of strategic, military, energy and other geopolitical costs and concerns. The policy is congealing, but there is no consensus yet. Moreover, such consensus may be impossible. At times, acute and chronic strategic challenges may trump the best of democratic intentions. And departmental concerns may once again find the State Department and the Pentagon bickering — or worse — in the interagency process.

As Cohen points out, Karimov has probably dug his own grave. What’s so frustrating is that he seems not to realize it, and therefore, doesn’t see that there’s a way out.

Cohen says that western states and institutions need to convince Karimov that the way out of his regime’s crisis is political rather than repressive. He goes on to suggest needed reforms. His suggestions are entirely correct, but the real trick will be how to convince Uzbekistan now. We have been trying for the past few years while relations were fairly good and were not able to produce significant success. I certainly know that making Karimov’s eventual relinquishing of power an element of a renewed push to convince the Uzbek government to reform is a recipe for failure.


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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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{ 1 comment }

jr June 12, 2005 at 4:47 am

Who do you think will replace him?

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