Some dictators are more equal than others
The New Republic points out that the Bush administration believes that promoting democracy is integral to winning the war on terror--unless you are Saudi Arabia, Russia, Pakistan, etc. This may be available only to subscribers--I'll give you a taste:
That basic contradiction--that this administration promotes democracy least where the war on terrorism matters most--runs throughout Bush's foreign policy. Consider U.S. behavior toward two of the countries closest to terrorism's frontline: Uzbekistan and Pakistan. Uzbekistan's secular dictator, Islam Karimov, nicely illustrates the Bush administration's argument that repression fuels terrorism. His regime jails, and often tortures, anyone who seems excessively religious--and thus, Uzbekistan's once largely peaceful Islamist movement is turning violent. It would seem like exactly the kind of place the United States would be pushing democracy hard. Instead, in March 2002, the Bush administration signed a "strategic partnership" with Uzbekistan that has paved the way for hundreds of millions in U.S. aid. That money is supposed to be conditioned on human rights improvements. But, as The American Prospect's Matthew Yglesias recently pointed out, the United States has waived those requirements for the last two years. The reason? Uzbekistan, which provides a base for American troops operating in neighboring Afghanistan, is too important to the war on terrorism. As Democratic Representative Gary Ackerman recently put it, Karimov "has learned that all he really needs to do is provide us with assistance in the global war on terrorism and that the rest is really not that important."