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James Love

James Love

Posted: November 22, 2008 06:09 PM

Nursultan Nazarbayev


In 2007, I wrote several blogs in the Huffpo on the topic of Nursultan Nazarbayev, "the brutal and corrupt dictator of Kazakhstan and friend of politicians in high places." One was "the well connected dictator," an article that linked to a timeline about Kazakhstan.

A lot has been written this year about a 2005 trip involving Bill Clinton to Kazakhstan, much of it rehashed recently with news of Hillary Clinton's apparent nomination as Secretary of State, by people who don't like Hillary Clinton. On the other hand, pretty much nothing has been written about the Nazarbayev regime ties to other politicians and opinion makers, in the United States and elsewhere, in different political parties, including other presidential candidates. No one in the Congress was interested in blocking the 2007 sale of shares of Westinghouse (and key nuclear technology) to the Kazakhstan government . There has been little interest in probing the extent of Nazarbayev's extensive ties to politicians and opinion makers, including those with ties to energy policy or nuclear proliferation responsibilities, or groups which evaluate progress on human rights.

We are facing a crisis in the areas of energy policy and climate change. We are also concerned about nuclear proliferation, the protection of human rights, and the future stability of central Asia.

It will be interesting to see if the attention to Nursultan Nazarbayev will become more than an occasional opportunistic exercise in Hillary bashing. Will a Congressional committee be willing to explore the extent and manner that the Nazarbayev regime lobbies in the U.S.?

How co-oped is the US. with respect to this regime?

You might ask the Harvard KSG professor Graham Allison, who with former Senator Sam Nunn, wrote introductions to Nazarbayev's book, Epicenter Of Peace.

You might ask Senator Richard Lugar and former Senator Sam Nunn, both of whom were awarded the Kazakhstan's prestigious Order of the Dostyk by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

You might ask Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School, the $26 million consultant to the regime.

You might ask Senator Reid, who recently said that Kazakhstan is "the force of stability in the whole region." (Given the region, this is probably accurate).

You might ask Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, and Charlie Melancon a Democrat from Louisiana, two members of the US Congress that in July were spearheading an effort to nominate the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, for a Nobel Peace Prize.

You might ask the many other members of the House of Representatives, from both parties, who have praised the regime.

You might ask some of his many friends. And if the debate is all about Hillary, it certainly has little to do with Nazarbayev, which would be unfortunate.

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