Michael Totten

Really, Dump Islam Karimov - Now

After the Andijon massacre in Uzbekistan, lots of people — including myself — said it was high time we ditched the tyrant Islam Karimov as an “ally.”
Nathan Hamm, who lived and worked there in the Peace Corps until shortly after 9/11, wasn’t entirely sure.

There’s nothing I’d like more than for Uzbekistan to be a democracy. Yesterday. But I’m hearing a lot of calls for what I must, at my most charitable, characterize as a shoot from the hip, emotionally satisfying response to the Andijon massacre. I can’t deny that a part of me doesn’t want to see that, but this situation is too serious to foul up. Believe you me, I want our policy to improve. But I want us to take fully into account the realities on the ground and be willing to swallow some of the realities that we don’t like for the sake of an effective long-term policy.

He has some questions for those like me who want a massive overhaul now. Since I respect Nathan and because he asked good questions I argued my case in my new Tech Central Station column on his exact terms. I hope he agrees. If he doesn’t, I will link his response if he writes one.