Those countries that are working toward Western ideals, however haltingly, are the good ones. The satrapies of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan do not care, and so medieval brutalities are commonplace.
This decision smacks of the sort of constant engagement that treats aspiring democracies as pariahs for the occasional failure and provides cover to totalitarians, on the theory that they’ll be a little less totalitarian.
This misses the forest for the trees. Turkmenistan is basically the seventh layer of Hell. The best thing you can say about it is that there is currently no genocide in progress there.
The EU needs to do more to make Astana earn its keep in the area of political and media freedoms before showing Nazarbayev the money.
This is a reminder that so many of the terrible things, the very Soviet things, that are done in the broken empire’s wreckage remain out of the world’s view save when a spotlight is briefly shone on them.
With Karimov’s grip on power slowly loosening as mortality does what moral suasion could not, Tashkent cannot afford any threat to whatever succession plan Karimov is currently entertaining.
Rather than reacting out of fear, attempting to reduce natural economic links, the wealthier EU states should encourage poorer nations to the east to more fully participate in the economic mainstream.
One of the greatest tragedies of Soviet rule was the status of children, especially those entrusted to state care. The same problem persists today.
Baku’s understands what will be expected of it and that it is willing to take steps necessary to forge good relationships with the West. The government must resist the impulse toward control that could curtail its great national potential.
Karimov’s brutal reign is such a blight on human society that it is nevertheless worth exploring a future without him. Most writers focus on the effects of Karimov’s entirely hypothetical departure on American and European foreign policy, but the real problem is rebuilding civil society.