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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Rest of the West

This headline in the New York Times is odd "China Backs Uzbek, Splitting With U.S. on Crackdown". It did convince me to read the story, not to learn about China but to learn about the Bush administratino, since I had missed their condemnation of Karimov.

In the story I read

Mr. Kong's statement cemented a stark split between the West on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other, over the behavior of the Uzbek authorities, who have been accused of firing indiscriminately into antigovernment crowds on May 13, possibly killing hundreds. Several Western governments, NATO and the European Union have called for an independent investigation.

None of the organisations listed seems to me to be the US. Did the headline writer assume that any group of Western governments must include the Bush administration ? Did the headline writer consider NATO to be an alternative acronym for USA ? Why did the headline include "US" when the list could be summarised as "the West" ?

I still don't know if the Bush administration has condemmed Karimov.

Update: 2 minutes of google later. Also at the NY Times

The revised casualty figures followed statements of concern and criticism from the European Union, Britain and France and from the United States, which maintains a major military base in Uzbekistan, shares intelligence with it on counterterrorism and has helped train and equip the Uzbek military and security forces.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Bush administration had raised its concerns about the crackdown on dissidents with the Uzbek government.

"Nobody is asking any government to deal with terrorists," she said Tuesday evening at a news conference in Washington. "That's not the issue. The issue, though, is that it is a society that needs openness, it needs to reform, and again, I think if you look at the record, we have raised that with the government of Karimov for quite some time."

Ms. Rice said President Bush's support for democracy and openness was "without regard to what else might be going on."

At least one member of a Central Asian government said international reaction had been delayed and insufficient. "I'm very disappointed that it took the United States three days to condemn the massacre," said Balbak Tulobayev, an official in the administration of the interim Kyrgyz president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev. "Only the Americans can help the Uzbek people against this tyrant."

I respect Tulabayev, but I don't agree with his characterization. "we have raised that with the government of Karimov for quite some time." means "business as usual".
Also a clear distinction should have be made between the need for "reform" and the need to stop firing on crowds of civilians.

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