That didn’t go well.
At a conference with some of the most repressive (in some cases, the most repressive) of the former Soviet Republics, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry fielded a question about the brutal dictator with whom he’d been sharing a stage — but stopped as his security detail tossed her out.
As security men starting ushering reporters out of the room, one American reporter shouted a question to Karimov about the US State Department’s own scathing critique of his human rights record. Karimov ignored the query. Kerry began responding but the reporter was pushed out of the room before he finished.
(Read the whole article, even though it’s by the Guardian.)
The dramatic image of an American pool reporter being thrown out of a press conference for asking about the United States Government’s own human rights reports is pretty eye-catching, but that isn’t even the worst part of this debacle. It’s the context.
Kerry was at a gathering of the five best-known -stans of the former Soviet Union, treating them as equals in the fight against Islamic extremism (also Russia). The joint statement put out by the conference didn’t touch on the routine torture, oppression, imprisonment, execution, and miserably nouveau-riche offenses the permanent oligarchies in those countries inflict on their peoples. The entire affair was a muted blessing of this group of psychopaths, tyrants, and incompetents, a mark of respect not one of those Hell-holes deserves.
Some have had poor opinions of the West’s — particularly the Obama Administration’s — handling of Central Asia, but some of us believed that the carrot-and-stick approach would yield fruit. That belief was only true so long as there was a stick. The incompetents running Western foreign policy have taken it up a notch, leaving Ukraine and Azerbaijan to shudder in the wind, but having a great big hug with Uzbekistan and the rest.
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