Day By Day

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Uzbekistan in Turmoil -- Bush's role?

Instapundit seems to be serious about covering the current crisis in Uzbekistan. In multiple posts he has provided several links to sources reporting on the carnage there. See here and here and scroll around his main site -- there are literally dozens of links.

One of his posts contains this interesting tidbit:
Over the past few years, Uzbek president Islam Karimov has been warned by the U.S. to either get with the democratic process, or risk getting overthrown. Even though the United States withdrew most foreign aid last year over this issue, Karimov believes that he can tough it out. But the United States has been funding pro-democracy political organizations in Uzbekistan.
Neither Glenn nor I can vouch for the veracity of this information, but I reproduce it here because it touches on an often overlooked aspect of Bush's foreign policy.

For several months now, ever since the success of the Iraqi elections, critics of the Bush administration have been trying desperately to deny him any credit for the spread of democracy through much of the world. It is all due to local causes and conditions, they argue, and the real inspiration for reform has come from the autonomous risings in Georgia and Ukraine, not from anything Bush has done or said. While it is clear that the Rose and Orange revolutions were certainly inspirational, we must recognize that the Bush administration has not just called publicly for democratic reform, but has also long worked quietly and behind the scenes to promote it throughout the world.

This has been a long complaint of the Russian government which has several times denounced US meddling in their former tributaries. It was confirmed recently in Georgia by President Saakashvili who said, "[George Bush] stood with us during our revolution and you stand with us today. On behalf of my nation I would like to say, `Thank you!'" Similar statements have been made by Ukraine government figures. So Bush was there at the beginning and the US has been working hard both publicly and behind the scenes to promote the spread of democracy. The influence of US advisors in both Ukraine and Lebanon is well documented. Now similar claims are coming from Uzbekistan.

It is becoming clear that the "Bush Doctrine" is not just words. It is backed by consistent action. That is why Dubya has already established himself as a world historical figure.

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