Craig Murray – Why the US won’t admit it was jilted: President Karimov of Uzbekistan has served notice to quit on the US base in his country. This completes a process of diplomatic revolution as Karimov turns away from the west and back into the embrace of Russia, with coy sideways glances at China. The US is trying to cover its retreat behind a smokescreen of belated concern for human-rights abuse in Uzbekistan. Suddenly one of their most intensively courted allies has been discovered – shock horror – to be an evil dictator. (Remember Saddam?) But the reality is much more complex… We should be seeking to shorten Uzbekistan’s misery, not to extend it. It is the world’s second largest exporter of cotton. Citing the use of child and serf labour, concerted trade sanctions against Uzbek cotton and textiles containing Uzbek cotton should be the way forward. Given the self-interest of the very powerful US cotton lobby and the new frost in US-Uzbek relations, this might even be achievable.
Sanctions against Uzbekistan would be disastrous? – Craig Murray explains his position: My proposal relates only to cotton, so is of course much more targeted than the sanctions against Iraq… The object of a cotton boycott would be not just to obtain reform of the cotton industry, but to attack the income of the Karimov elite and thus break up their political alliances.
Disillusioned Kid wants your help and feedback on this issue. I’m having a quiet think about it myself.
UPDATE – I’ve signed the pledge to blog about this on September 1st (Uzbekistan’s independence day). Perhaps you’d like to as well.