Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Obama's Foreign Policy Conundrum

As Kyrgyzstan closes the American Air Base supplying troops in Afghanistan, should Obama make a deal with another evil dictator? Such is the rock and hard place Obama is now in. Without the Air base in Kyrgystan, he must either curtail and delay plans for expanding the war effort that were part of his campaign promises, possibly making some limited withdrawals. Or he can work to re-open the base in Uzbekistan, paying off the ruthless Islam Karimov.

Personally I hope he doesn't. Despite the short term gains this ethical compromise brings, the long term consequences must weigh more heavily. Obama may no longer be around to deal with those consequences when they come, but somebody will. In almost every instance the United States has worked with people like Islam Karimov, the choice haunted the US with far more unpleasant results. See: Pakistan, Cuba, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Chile, etc.

Moreover, ends cannot justify means in a war of ideology. If the United States wants to promote freedom and democracy in Afghanistan, they would be well advised to avoid hypocrisy.

Barack Obama's Uzbekistan Problem by Christopher Flavelle. In Slate Magazine.

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