Dick Cheney recently visited Russia and complained that they are using their own oil reserves to blackmail the world. In other words, he doesn’t like that they are energy independent and doing the same thing the US does – whatever the hell they want. He also complained that they weren’t doing enough to support democracy. The media called his remarks the beginning of a new cold war.
democracy: 1, diplomacy 0 ? Not exactly…
No doubt democratic reforms would be a good thing for Russia, but Cheney showed that he wouldn’t know democracy if it shot him in the face. On his next stop, Cheney visited oil-rich Kazakhstan and expressed his “admiration for all that’s been accomplished here” on human rights.
What is it has been accomplished? Read on…
Kazakhstan, however, remains a repressive nation, ruled by a former Communist apparatchik who has maintained a tight grip over its 15 million people since Soviet days and parlayed its massive energy reserves into a place on the international stage. Those reserves, human rights advocates say, have earned the country a pass from the Bush administration on human rights.
[President] Nazarbayev … has stayed in office through elections that have been judged neither free nor fair by international monitors — the most recent in December, when he claimed 91 percent of the vote.
The opposition party Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan was liquidated last year, and authorities refused to register two other opposition parties. Two opposition leaders died from gunshot wounds — the circumstances are contested — in recent months. The government has closed newspapers and seized print runs while using tax, immigration and other investigations to harass nongovernmental organizations. It is illegal to insult Nazarbayev or to report on his health, finances or private life.
“During the year almost all media outlets willing to criticize the president directly were subjected to intimidation, often in the form of law enforcement actions or civil suits,” the State Department’s annual human rights report stated in March.
Cheney Switches From Scowls to Smiles
So that’s OK, but Russia better look out, huh? It’s clear that Cheney just wants the oil. If you give him access to it, you are advancing human relations. if you do what you want with it, you are blackmailing us.
If only us fat Americans would get out of our cars, no-one would be able to backmail us with oil – including Cheney. C’mon get off your butt… for democracy!