FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
US negotiating to reoccupy Uzbek air base?
You know, Uzbekistan. WHERE THEY BOIL PEOPLE ALIVE.
Not being content to embrace and expand a program of deniable third-party torture as a viable counter-terrorism tool, the Obama administration has apparently decided to try to mend relations with the nation of Uzbekistan (H/T: Instapundit):
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is considering resuming military cooperation with hardline Uzbekistan as a potential backup plan given the uncertain future of a nearby air base that is a main artery for troops and supplies for the widening Afghanistan war, U.S. officials said Thursday.
Defense officials say they are examining options for supply routes through a semicircle of nations from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf that could be used in place of a strategic air base in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan.
This is, of course, in response to said air base being closed in response to Russian ‘encouragement’… which is in itself in response to the election of a new President of the United States. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, here.
Uzbekistan. Go read the Human Rights Watch report before they change it as being too potentially embarrassing towards the Obama administration: it’s depressing reading. The country is home to a vicious dictatorship that routinely violates human rights, engages in torture, commits act of religious and civil repression, and is almost certainly rigging elections to stay in power. We – reluctantly – worked with them after 9/11 in order to get logistical support for the liberation of Afghanistan; but when the Adijan Massacre occurred in 2005 the United States raised enough of a stink that the Karimov regime revoked our right to use the K2 airbase. So we left… and I stood up and cheered.
I should have known better – although I take some comfort in pegging, even last year, the uncritical willingness of the Obama administration to make deals with torture-friendly nation-states. Thanks to Russian meddling, Kyrgyzstan is currently shaking us down for more money for our existing airbase. This was probably inevitable – there’s no real reason for the Russians not to test a new President when he takes office – but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t encouraged by Obama’s rather incoherent and delayed response to Russia’s invasion of Georgia last autumn. Bluntly, I’m surprised that the possibility that we might be able to stay in Kyrgyzstan at all; but then, there is a lot of cash involved.
But if they don’t, hey, we can always go back to K2. Why not? It’s not as if the activist Left’s going to say anything. Look at rendition: Human Rights Watch used to hate it; now that there’s a Democrat in office, they’ve signed off on it with a happy tra-la-la. Heck, look at Slate if you want irony so thick that it chokes. In 2005 they were writing articles like “Why Are We in Uzbekistan?: It’s time to end our association with Islam Karimov;” now it’s “Barack Obama’s Uzbekistan Problem: Realpolitik ambushes Obama, and not just at home.” What changed? Control of the legislative and executive branches of government; and so, what was once an intolerable offense has now become a regrettable reality. And so we go, step by step, to horror.
You know, I don’t care how angry George Bush made the activist Left for eight years: it’s no excuse for them to take out their frustrations on the rest of the planet. Even the parts of it that are less pink than they are.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.