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No Dictator is above Trade!
When it comes to Dealing with Dictators, American Foreign Policy is Remarkably selective, Depending on Strategic Interests
Issue Date - 12/05/2011
Here it goes. What is one thing common between Paul Biya, Berdymukhamedov, Obiang Nguema, Idriss Deby, Karimov, Zenawi and King Abdullah? Well, you got us right they are all world renowned dictators. But then, one thing that is even more common is the fact that in spite of being dictators, they are all US allies.

Interestingly, these dictators also feature in Amnesty International reports either as criminals or as human rights abusers. Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan is known for his authoritarian rule. Similarly, Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Biya of Cameroon and Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan are involved in numerous executions. Deby of Chad and Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia are also behind ongoing slaughters, rapes and abductions going on in the country and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia denies freedom of expression and legitimacy and practices unfair trials. With almost all these dictators, US has oil trade to the tune of billions. It imports oil from Turkmenistan (1,000 barrels/day in 2009) and sells Boeing jets to the Turkmen government. Similarly, it imports petroleum products from Equatorial Guinea (58,000 barrels/day in 2010) and Chad, while it imports uranium from Uzbekistan (51,000 barrels/day in 2010). Ethiopia is the largest aid recipient from US & US imports around 160 million barrels annually from Saudi Arabia.

To say the least, US, the world’s greatest superpower and self proclaimed upholder of human values seems to judge a nation only by strategic worth. If that’s huge enough, ‘minor’ details like civilian oppression and heinous crimes by leaders can be brushed under the carpet.


Akram Hoque           

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