Michael Rubin Beclowns Himself

by Nathan Hamm on 8/23/2011 · 10 comments

Michael Rubin, one of the American Enterprise Institute’s Resident Scholars, drops this choice bit of ill-informed nonsense

Yes, that’s right: Let’s wish Otunbaeva, the former communist functionary who was one of the coup leaders who overthrew her predecessor and has since cozied up to Vladimir Putin in Russia a truly long life. May it be as long as Muammar Qadhafi’s will be.

What he’s doing here is whining that US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Pamela Spratlen wished Roza Otunbaeva a happy birthday on the embassy’s Facebook page. This is so dumb and poorly fact-checked that it has to be borne of the American conservative’s deep hatred of the State Department, right?

I would describe all the ways in which Dr. Rubin’s caricature of Otunbaeva is deeply and astoundingly wrong, but it’d be a bore to all of you, and a disservice to Dr. Rubin, or more likely his intern, who needs to brush up on his research skills.

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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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CE August 23, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Awww no fair, they took it down!

CE August 23, 2011 at 10:09 pm
Nathan Hamm August 23, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Thanks. Fixed it.

More from him on Kyrgyzstan here: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/08/23/manas-u-s-afghanistan/

Paul V August 24, 2011 at 4:12 am

Michael Rubin is clearly the AEI’s resident moron. The Arabist took him to task on Monday: http://www.arabist.net/blog/2011/8/22/what-passes-as-sage-advice-in-washington.html

TJM August 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Michael Rubin is not dumb. I’ve met him, seen him speak, read his work (his legit stuff, not blog posts or op-eds). He’s a smart guy.

I’m not sure why smart folks write stuff like this. Whether it is Rubin writing this odd blurb, or just about anything that Max Boot has written in the past couple years, something draws genuinely smart people to write odd things. I don’t know what it is exactly. But, Rubin is not dumb. There is some other explanation for why he wrote this.

Nathan Hamm August 26, 2011 at 5:59 am

That thing is ideology.

Joshua Foust August 24, 2011 at 10:38 am

Don’t forget, too, that this is part of the right-wing backlash against anyone who isn’t stridently, viciously anti-Russian. It’s been happening over Georgia, over New START, and now (I guess?) over Kyrgyzstan.

Nathan August 24, 2011 at 11:03 am

But that’s what’s especially absurd. There’s no Russian anything to be against here. She’s not especially pro-Russian. Actually, in the context of Kyrgyz politics, she’s in that kind of lonely “gee, America is kind of cool” camp. But maybe her crime, to the extent that Rubin could draw this out more, is not using her presidency to attack Russia. She’s certainly less anti-Russia than Bakiev, but Bakiev only seemed to dislike Russia the final year he was in office.

Grant August 30, 2011 at 3:29 am

She’s not vehemently anti-Russian and the leading figures in Kyrgyzstan* have shown some friendliness to Russia. For the hardline American conservatives we’re seeing pop up that’s more than enough.

As for Bakiev (I really wish we could get standardized spellings in the Roman alphabet) he wasn’t quite opposed to Russia as much as he really irritated them over the air base deal. It was after that affair that Russian radio stations flooded the air with anti-Bakiev statements.

*Based on the fact that Russia is right next door and rather hard to ignore.

Grant August 30, 2011 at 3:30 am

I love how a mass protest against a corrupt leader with the intent of installing a somewhat democratic system has become a ‘coup’.

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