For watchers of Central Asia, however, the most important accomplishment of Craig Murray is that he has made the foreign policy of the U.K. towards Uzbekistan a matter of public importance, and to some degree, an issue in Britain’s domestic politics. Furthermore, he seems to seek to accomplish the same in the United States. His large article in Sunday’s Washington Post, in addition to being an obvious part of his book’s promotion, was one step further towards making Americans aware of Uzbekistan and its position in U.S. foreign policy.
No matter what one thinks of Mr. Murray, his opinions, or his tastes in “women and whiskey,” he is an important addition to public debates on Central Asia. With more established scholars such as Fred Starr and Shirin Akinermore or less condoning the March 2005 killing of civilians in Andijan and Martha Brill Olcott trying neither to condemn nor to condone the bloody events of Andijan, Mr. Murray’s uncompromised outrage at the policies of the Uzbek Government (in Andijan and elsewhere) is critical in providing everybody with a reality check. No matter what one thinks of the messenger, his message is important. Furthermore, his book’s release is timely in that it will undoubtedly play a role in the ongoing debates of how (and if) the west should try to re-engage Uzbekistan once again.