Thursday, February 05, 2004

The Allure of Realpolitik

Matthew Yglesias has a post up on the administration's support for Uzbekistan's government in its "anti-terrorist" activities. I shall have a lot more to say about this later, but for now I'll content myself with saying that the American government seems to be making a mistake it has all too frequently made in the past, by resorting too dogmatically to a simple-minded notion that "Islamist/Leftist = Evil", therefore "Their Opponents = Good." It may seem like hard-headed realpolitik to give sustenance to vile regimes that indulge in the rhetoric of "anti-terrorism", but in the long run this is a terrible idea, as the hatred this sort of lazy thinking gives rise to can take a long time to die down. We are still dealing with the consequences of support for the Shah today; there's no need to further inflame the muslim world by making the false assumption that every islamic movement must necessarily be worse than a secular autocracy. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is a nasty piece of work, but then again, so is the Uzbek government.