Bush's Words On Liberty Don't Mesh With Policies

By Glenn Kessler and Robin WrightU.S. Maintains Close Ties With Repressive Nations President Bush's soaring rhetoric yesterday that the United States

U.S. Maintains Close Ties With Repressive Nations

President Bush's soaring rhetoric yesterday that the United States will promote the growth of democratic movements and institutions worldwide is at odds with the administration's increasingly close relations with repressive governments in every corner of the world. Some of the administration's allies in the war against terrorism -- including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan -- are ranked by the State Department as among the worst human rights abusers. The president has proudly proclaimed his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin while remaining largely silent about Putin's dismantling of democratic institutions in the past four years. The administration, eager to enlist China as an ally in the effort to restrain North Korea's nuclear ambitions, has played down human rights concerns there, as well...read on

The State Department, in its annual human rights report, has cited Uzbekistan for its "very poor" human rights record, including the torture and killing of citizens in custody for political reasons. There is virtually no freedom of speech or of the press.

Yet Bush met with Uzbekistan's president in 2002 and signed a declaration of "strategic partnership," and senior officials such as Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld have visited the country. The United States "values Uzbekistan as a stable, moderate force in a turbulent region," the State Department said late last year. ...


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