A Free Clue for State

by Nathan Hamm on 8/4/2005 · 2 comments

Undersecretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns (who cancelled his planned trip to Uzbekistan after the eviction notice was served) gave an interview to the BBC Uzbek Service. The following is a stunningly silly exchange even up against the usual empty fare served up by State Department officials.

QUESTION: Do you see any link betweeen the pressure that the United States had been putting on the Uzbek government to allow international investigation of the killings in May?

UNDER SECRETARY BURNS: Oh, I don’t see a link. No, I think it’s normal and realistic that in the modern world – the twenty first century – countries have a variety of interests. In the case of Uzbekistan, the United States has an interest in good relations with the government, we have an interest in continued counter-terrorism and military cooperation, but we also have an interest in human rights. We have an interest in the case of Andijon, suggesting that there be an international effort, a cooperative effort to look into the incidents there to determine what happened. That seems, to us, to be logical so we don’t draw any linkage. No, we think it’s normal that a country should both press for security interests as well as for interests concerning democracy and human rights.

Come the hell on…

Is he suggesting that there is a link to the US interest in promoting democracy and human rights in general and not Andijon in specific? It almost seems like he’s trying not to offend the Uzbek government. But why?

It’s over. If this were a relationship, there’d be nothing to say but “Dude, she left you. Get over it.”

Maybe I’ve missed something, but there haven’t been many signs of late to indicate that relations will warm up anytime soon. No use acting any other way.

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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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Brian August 4, 2005 at 6:45 pm

Well I’m glad the he clarified that the modern world means the twenty-first century.

That whole paragraph is just a bunch of crap… it doesn’t make any real sense. It’s like he’s doing his best to give a non-answer answer. I agree with Nathan, the question is why?

David August 8, 2005 at 5:44 pm

Maybe Burns is hoping for one of those post-relationship relationships; both sides can’t see a way back but not yet ready to move on, there’s no-one else reeaally on the scene, China and Russia are making all the right moves but the magic’s just not there, Karimov starts to get lonely one night, picks up the phone… Before he knows it Burns is back on the scene and the F16s are all parked out on the front drive again…

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