Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hypocrisy Pt.5

Strategic Aims, Not Abuses, Are U.S. Focus in Kyrgyzstan
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Despite repressive practices, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was praised by President Obama after reversing a decision to close an American air base.

For the whole story, see

Not an unusual kind of story, but is it hypocrisy? This is the charge often leveled at the U.S.--it preaches democracy but supports repressive dictatorships and monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc.). In these cases, the government is subordinating one value (promoting democracy) to another, conflicting value (strategic security, or whatever one wishes to call it). It is obviously much easier to condemn such trade-offs as hypocrisy when you are not in power with responsibility for the national interest. But when you are, is it possible to avoid such conflicts between, let's say, moral and strategic concerns? And do trade-offs like this rise to the level of hypocrisy?

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