Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bush Hosts Kazakh Dictator at White House

Showing that they really do not stand for democracy in any and all places around the world, Bush and Cheney are hosting Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Oh by the way, Kazakh sits on a bunch of oil......just FYI

Cheney shows just how duplicitious he really is:

In addition to Nazarbayev's upcoming visit, Vice President Cheney went to the former Soviet republic in May to praise him as a friend, a trip that drew criticism because it came the day after Cheney criticized Russia for retreating from democracy. The latest invitation has sparked outrage among Kazakh opposition.

so.......as long as they are our dictators, they are okay?

7 Comments:

At 8/29/2006 09:55:00 AM, Blogger Amira said...

In the world of dictators, Nazarbayev is pretty benign. Now, if Bush had hosted Karimov of Uzbekistan or Niyazov of Turkmenistan who also sit on a lot of oil and gas, I'd be more concerned. They are nasty dictators.

I can't think that it's the best policy for the US to isolate and ignore every leader in the world who isn't particularly democratic. And the US is putting pressure on Kazakhstan by funding lots of different opposition groups in Kazakhstan.

 
At 8/29/2006 01:19:00 PM, Blogger annegb said...

It's possible that had we sucked up to Hussein like that, we would have accomplished far more in a more peaceful way.

 
At 8/29/2006 04:24:00 PM, Blogger nicolaepadigone said...

amira,

thanks for stopping by. I agree that Nazarbayev is not threatening, but it sure sends a bad message to the world when you have the Vice President criticizing Russia's moves away from democracy while the next day he hugs President Nazarbayev, who also is moving away from democracy. It makes people wonder, "are they really sincere about their push for democratization?"

It undermines our credibility on our drive for democracy when we invite and sustain dictators while criticizing others. It makes it look like dictators are okay as long as they bow to the West.

I have no problem communicating with leaders of various nations, both free and totalitarian. I actually recommend that we open communications with Iran and Syria. Stop our silly schoolboy tantrum and actually communicate.

More has been accomplished from talking to our enemies than from bombing them.

 
At 8/29/2006 07:33:00 PM, Blogger Amira said...

While I agree it's rather disingenuous for the US to criticize one dictator and support another, it's just what US policy has always been under every president we've ever had. While Kazakhstan does have oil, it's highly unlikely that oil would ever benefit the US because KZ is a long way from the US and pipelines are notoriously slow to develop in Central Asia. I think the real reason why we support Nazarbayev is that we need an ally (or something like it) in the area and KZ is hands down the best choice. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are weak, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are run by true dictators, China and Iran aren't likely to be chummy anytime soon, and Afghanistan is Afghanistan. While the US undoubtably support its preferred dictators, I don't think it's as simple as pointing to the natural resources those dictators control.

Because if that were the case, Russia would be our best friend since it has far and away the most natural resources of any country in the world.

 
At 8/29/2006 08:39:00 PM, Blogger nicolaepadigone said...

true, but even with so many natural resources, for some reason Americans have not warmed up to the Russians, not even before they went communist. I don't think oil is the main factor--that is more a jab at Bush, Cheney, Rice, and their strong connections to the oil industry yet again cozying up to a totalitarian regime that happens to sit on some oil fields too--strategic locale is definitely the biggest reason we're cozying up to Kazakh's leader.

It is a strategic location, as you say, because it sits right in between Russia and South Asia. The more support we garner from former Soviet bloc countries, the better strategically it is for America. At least that is the Republican thinking. They still think they need some way to cordon off Russia, position ourselves around her so her influence remains only within Russia.

It also is a stabler place from which to exert our influence on the rising tide of Islamism in Central Asia. I understand this.

I just try to look at America from the point of view outside of America. And what I see is not good. On the one hand we decry totalitarian regimes and tell them to change and be more open, to the point that we just don't even talk with some of them (Iran and Syria for example). On the other, we support others (Egypt and Saudi Arabia for example), to the point where we invite those dictators to the White House and give them hugs. As an outsider who does not understand the fine points of strategic positioning, I would wonder, "why should I listen to this duplicitous hypocrite (Bush), when he tells me to reform, yet pats on the back a non-reformer?"

It comes down to priorities. What is more important. The spreading of democracy (and the image and impression of spreading democracy), or strategic positioning? If spreading democracy, then it is essential and vital that we remain consistent, else we undermine ourselves. If stragetic positioning is of greater value, then we must explain this. Of course, explaining strategic positioning in this modern media-sound byte driven age, such in-depth discussions are waaaaaay over the heads of short-attention-span Americans. So we basically want our cake and eat it too. We talk democracy, but work on strategic positioning. Can it be clearer why America's standing in the world is in serious decline?

This sort of relationship needs to be kept hush hush. Inviting him to the White House brings all sorts of troubles, and undermines our push for democracy.

 
At 8/29/2006 11:46:00 PM, Blogger Amira said...

I completely agree that US foreign policy is not popular around the world- I've lived in Central Asia and the Middle East and I'm fully aware of that. We are completely two-faced.

But I question whether promoting democracy should be the main goal of the US. Well, not whether it should, but whether it is even possible. I'm pretty cynical about our effectiveness so far. And I don't it's widely believed that that's our main goal anyway, despite what US presidents have been saying for the last 50 years. Americans are the only ones who believe the US' goal is anything but protecting our own interests.

I think in the end we agree, and I wish the US was more forthright about its goals and what it really wants instead of hiding behind all of this chatter about promoting democracy. But I don't foresee the State Department changing its tactics anytime soon, nor the Bush administration.

 
At 8/30/2006 09:50:00 AM, Blogger nicolaepadigone said...

well said amira. I concur. It is nice to talk with someone who is actually quite knowledgable about what is happening in our world and is not some partisan ideologue. Thank you for your comments. :)

 

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