Thursday, October 13, 2005

Condi: Fair Voting In Asia, No Word On Ohio

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will be visiting the former Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikstan this week. Amongst other things (including US relations), she will be promoting democracy. (Or at least what passes for it these days.)

SHANNON, Ireland, Oct. 10 - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, beginning a trip to Central Asia, urged the region's leaders on Monday to hold "elections that are free and fair," even though in one state she plans to visit nearly all the likely opposition candidates have been jailed and in another laws have been passed that stack the odds in favor of the present rulers.

"We seek strong and deep relations," she said in a discussion with reporters aboard her plane, "but one of the elements of a strong and deep relationship with the United States these days is moving forward with democracy."

Of course, there are other considerations, but given the extensive positive human rights record of this administration < snark > , surely these could only be secondary!

They include military basing rights, energy and economic relationships, and drug trafficking problems in the region. But Ms. Rice made it clear that promoting democracy would be central to her mission.  

While discussing democracy with Mr. Rakhmonov (Tajikistan), Ms. Rice might also raise the issue of military basing rights. The United States is being evicted from its base in Uzbekistan, and Ms. Rice made it plain that the military must "maintain the ability to move and be flexible" in the region in order to curb terrorism.

Shockingly, there was no statement offered about providing similar fair elections to the people of Ohio. But then I've probably missed the point.


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