the Disillusioned kid: Karimov the Anti-Imperialist?
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Monday, August 08, 2005

Karimov the Anti-Imperialist?

One of the things which worries me about certain sections of "the left" is the knee-jerk anti-Americanism which they espouse in the name of "anti-imperialism". Consider this passage from the Workers World, the mouthpiece of Workers World Party, a US-based Marxist-Leninist group (more on whom here):
Uzbekistan is the first of the former Soviet Central Asian Republics now in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to order the Pentagon out of its country. On July 5, the SCO—made up of China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, and with new observer members Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia—demanded that the U.S. provide a time table for militarily pulling out of Afghanistan and Central Asia.

That’s why today a front group like Freedom House, which receives funding from the U.S. government through the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID and the State Department, ranks Uzbekistan "not free," along with Zimbabwe, Syria and North Korea—countries that have refused to surrender their sovereignty to imperialism.
I picked this up from, where the author notes that the suggestion that Freedom House has only just started criticising Uzbekistan is easily disproved by reference to the organisation's archives.

Regular readers (a constituency I refer to often, although I have little or no idea if they amount to more than a handful of people) will be aware that I have been very critical of American Imperialism not only in Central Asia, but also in the Middle East and beyond. Insofar as the eviction of the US from K2 is likely to limit their ability to carry out military operations I suppose it can be seen as a good thing. Nevertheless, let's not kid ourselves that Uzbekistan's shift from the US's sphere of influence to Russia's is going to improve the situation of the average Uzbek in any way shape or form. Karimov was a bastard before. He's a bastard now. In all likelihood he'll be a bastard until he dies. His position vis-a-vis the United States isn't going to change that.

It is important that those on "the left" understand this and don't make the mistake of siding with Karimov as the US begins the process of discovering just what a bastard he is, as I'm sure they will if relations continue to deteriorate (cf Saddam Hussein after the invasion of Kuwait). If we're seen as being too close to people like Karimov simply because they're against the US this can only help those who wish to discredit us (witness the fallout from George Galloway's relationship with senior figures in the Ba'ath Party). This is exactly why I think we should support Craig Murray's call for sanctions on Uzbek cotton. This is also part of the motivation behind the Uzbekistan blog campaign day proposal. That, of course, and doing something (albeit a small thing) in the hope of improving the situation of those living in the country.

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