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.
Tashkent has made an offer to settle the Sokh question once and for all. Satybaldiev’s government needs to reciprocate in good faith. We take the recent talks as a sign that it intends to do so.
Just as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict continues to serve as a drag on two countries’ potentially bright futures, so does the Sokh enclave hamper local and national development in Central Asia.
The Kremlin is concerned enough about increasing ties to the West to feel the need to pooh-pooh Ashton’s visit. One gets the impression that Putin doth protest too much.
All of these nations would benefit from a substantial dose of freedom. The peoples of Central Asia will flourish once they are able to take charge of their respective economic and political destinies.
Karimov’s campaign against modernity, wrapped in the thin guise of protecting the people from themselves, is of course not at all about the dangers of the Internet, or nudity, or terrorism. It is about control.
By urging boycotts and focusing on alleged racism, the West is undermining civil society at a moment when it is needed most. That is the real lesson of the cultural events of the last two months.
There are some inspiring stories among the former republics and satellite states of the Soviet Union. The same, regrettably, cannot be said for the Uzbeks.
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.