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Ear to the Ground

Hypocrisy Alert: Bush to Embrace Kazakhstani Autocrat

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Posted on Aug 29, 2006
Cheney and Nursultan Nazarbayev
AP / Shawn Thew

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney shakes hands with Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev after a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace in Astana, Kazakhstan, in May. President Bush is set to meet with the Kazakhstani leader in September, despite an initiative he recently launched to combat autocracy like the kind Nazarbayev practices. Nazarbayev, coincidentally, sits atop huge oil reserves.

Just after launching an initiative to combat international kleptocracy, President Bush is scheduled to meet with the leader of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, a man who stands accused in U.S. courts of high-level bribery and who runs his country as a repressive despot.

  • Nazarbayev just happens to rule an oil-rich country.
  •  

  • More info on Nazarbayev’s alleged malfeasance (Wash Po, May 2006)

  • Washington Post (Aug. 29, 2006):

    President Bush launched an initiative this month to combat international kleptocracy, the sort of high-level corruption by foreign officials that he called “a grave and corrosive abuse of power” that “threatens our national interest and violates our values.” The plan, he said, would be “a critical component of our freedom agenda.”

    Three weeks later, the White House is making arrangements to host the leader of Kazakhstan, an autocrat who runs a nation that is anything but free and who has been accused by U.S. prosecutors of pocketing the bulk of $78 million in bribes from an American businessman. Not only will President Nursultan Nazarbayev visit the White House, people involved say, but he also will travel to the Bush family compound in Maine.

    Nazarbayev’s upcoming visit, according to analysts and officials, offers a case study in the competing priorities of the Bush administration at a time when the president has vowed to fight for democracy and against corruption around the globe. Nazarbayev has banned opposition parties, intimidated the press and profited from his post, according to the U.S. government. But he also sits atop massive oil reserves that have helped open doors in Washington.

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    By jesus reyes, August 30, 2006 at 11:13 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Apparently, there are war games being conducted now by the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, (CSTO) of which Kazakhstan is a member.  These games are being conducted concurrently with the Iranian war games which will continue until the end of October or so.  Brittish troops have been re-deployed to the Iranian border of the province of Khuzestan in preparation of - what?  The war in Iraq has made a turn with Muqtada al-Sadr making his move (see Diwaniyah) or maybe it’s the coalition trying to “pre-empt” Iran’s “hezbollah” in Iraq.

    It looks like the war has already started.  So the real question is probably “What side is Nazarbayev on?”.  He is spending the weekend with Bush in Kennebunkport.  I guess *we* will know once the fire works start.

    Hypocrisy Alert?  Well, why not.  Wonder what’s on Nancy Grace

    Report this

    By Fadel Abdallah, August 29, 2006 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    What’s new about Bush regime dealing with criminal regimes, dictators of their choice and undemocratic leaders! Hasn’t it been said that “Birds of feather flock together.”

    As we commemorate the first anniversary of Katrina, I would like to record my feelings about how bad an omen was this for our country. Just nine months into his first stolen election, we were hit with the tragic events of 9/11. Whether this was an inside job or it was some outside enemy, history still needs to give its final verdict. However, the fact that it happened on Bush’s watch is bad enough of an omen for people to wake up.
    Almost nine months into his second term, our country was devastated by the horrors of Katrina. This was, for sure, a wake up call from heaven; another bad omen about this evil imposed on the nation in the name of democracy and security.
    How bad it has to get till the average American wakes up to the horrors committed by this administration in their names and with their tax-payers money!

    Report this

    By Manny, August 29, 2006 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    This kind of diplomacy as been in effect for most our nation’s history. What makes this adminstration different from others is their
    double talk. They are quite good at it. Look at all the P.R. for the Iraq war and the killing
    of the Lebanese people. They do indeed have the pulse of the people. Our nation is forced fed and that is why Mr. Bush’s gang can deal with criminal regimes.

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