Today’s Washington Post brings us a editorial from one S. Frederick Starr, who admonishes us against criticizing Kazakstan, a despotic regime that is rife with human rights abuses. Starr rolls out what has become a tired refrain of his kind, amounting to “well, if we don’t buy their oil, someone else will!”
The piece only identifes Starr as “chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.” Harmless enough, yes? Harper’s has something that might interest the reader:
Starr, who is perhaps the [Uzbekistan President] Karimov regime’s most outspoken advocate in Washington—a regime that once tortured a political prisoner to death with methods that included the use of boiling water and then arrested his elderly mother when she complained. He also speaks fondly of several other despotic governments in central Asia, a region he views almost exclusively through the prism of American geopolitical interests and with little interest in issues like human rights and corruption.
Perhaps the Washington Post’s readers would like to know that. But hey, who am I to criticize, when – in a few short hours from now – my own legislature will vote to legalize torture and the indefinite detention of anyone, based solely upon the word of the President.