Damage Control from State

by Nathan Hamm on 6/14/2005

Laurence notified me that the White House and State Department are doing damage control on the Defense Department story.

Denying any Pentagon foot-dragging, the Bush administration says it is organizing international pressure on Uzbekistan to treat its people more humanely.

American assistance of $11 million is being withheld while the United States insists on an outside probe of the shooting of hundreds of protesters last month.

“We are working actively and we have generated some international statements of support,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Tuesday.

While considering other means of diplomatic leverage, he said, “we will talk about the way forward with our partners in the international community.”

The aim, he said, is changing the human rights situation in the former Soviet republic and urging greater freedom for the Uzbek people “that will result in a better life and, ultimately, greater stability in Uzbekistan.”

The White House says that the Defense Department has called for an inquiry into the Andijon killings and the State Department went on to say, “There is one voice and one policy with respect to an inquiry into what happened in Andijan.”

Well, I call them like I see them, and given the current situation and past Defense Department willingness to go off on its own, I’d say that we effectively have two. And if everyone’s misinterpreting the Defense Department on this, they need to wise up to the political messages their behavior sends.

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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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