FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Clinton Praises the "Suharto of the Steppe"

by JEFF BALLINGER

A NY Times report of the “monster deal” for a uranium-mining concession in Kazakhstan pulled few punches. It was explicitly linked to a similarly gargantuan donation to the “William J. Clinton Foundation”–a $31 million down-payment and pledge of $100 million more. The mining hot-shot donor, Frank Giustra, says that he was merely flying Bill over to Central Asia to assess progress on the Clinton Global Initiative’s eleemosynary hoohah. Corporate records show, according to the article, that he signed a preliminary agreement two days after he and Bill shared a midnight dinner with strongman, Nursulatan Nazarbayev.

“Our kind of guy”–those were the words used by one Clinton official back in 1995 after the noxious Suharto made a “private visit” to the Oval Office. The Times’ David Sanger pressed other administration officials on why this dictator was accorded such deference (the meeting was a standing-room-only affair). He was told that there was a “different litmus test” for the butchers, thieves and oppressors seeking favors at the Treasury ATM (or the Pentagon). I’m guessing that it was something like: Show me da money!

Even worse than the tawdry deal-making was Clinton’s praise for the Kazakh’s president-for-life and his democratic credentials. After scoring a Suharto-like 91% victory in 2005, Bill buttered up Nazarbayev thusly: “Recognizing that your work has received an excellent grade is one of the most important rewards in life.”

Times’ writers Jo Becker and Don Van Natta, Jr. continue: “Last September, just weeks after Kazakhstan held an election that once again failed to meet international standards, Mr. Clinton honored Mr. Nazarbayev by inviting him to his annual philanthropic conference.” On top of all that, there has been support for Nazarbayev’s laughable foray into international statesmanship–he wants a key role in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is a very important player in election-monitoring in the former Soviet states and Eastern Europe. It also has a highly-respected mechanism for human rights advocacy.

Several days ago when I was reading Suharto’s obit in the Wall Street Journal (by my old friend, Rick Borsuk), my thoughts immediately swung to Nazarbayev. Rick opined that the Javanese general was the last of his line – or words to that effect. No longer would there be decades-long repression overseen by one dominant figure. Nazarbayev has already lasted about twenty years in power and could easily eclipse Suharto’s mark of 32, but only with the support of foreign investment. (For an obit excoriating Gen. Suharto, see the Assoc. Press )

Infected with the rhetoric of Bill Clinton, Giustra promises to “empower consumers and workers” – tell it to Kazakhstan’s beleaguered miners! They are not likely to have full political and trade union rights until, maybe, 2020–if Nazarbayev departs the scene after a run like Suharto’s. Giustra has also named his do-gooder efforts by co-branding with Bill: The Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative.

JEFF BALLINGER’s book, “Protests and the Corporate Response; Tiananmen to Seattle” will be published by the University of Pisa this Winter. He is a co-founder of No Sweat Apparel. He can be reached at: jeffreyd@mindspring.com

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 28, 2017
Diana Johnstone
Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself
Jordon Kraemer
The Cultural Anxiety of the White Middle Class
Vijay Prashad
Modi and Trump: When the Titans of Hate Politics Meet
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Efforts to Hide Palestinians From View No Longer Fools Young American Jews
Ron Jacobs
Gonna’ Have to Face It, You’re Addicted to War
Jim Lobe – Giulia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio
Is Trump Blundering Into the Next Middle East War?
Radical Washtenaw
David Ware, Killed By Police: a Vindication
John W. Whitehead
The Age of No Privacy: the Surveillance State Shifts into High Gear
Robert Mejia, Kay Beckermann and Curtis Sullivan
The Racial Politics of the Left’s Political Nostalgia
Tom H. Hastings
Courting Each Other
Winslow Myers
“A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind”
Leonard Peltier
The Struggle is Never for Nothing
Jonathan Latham
Illegal GE Bacteria Detected in an Animal Feed Supplement
Deborah James
State of Play in the WTO: Toward the 11th Ministerial in Argentina
Andrew Stewart
Health Care for All: Why I Occupied Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s Office
Binoy Kampmark
The European Commission, Google and Anti-Competition
Jesse Jackson
A Savage Health Care Bill
Jimmy Centeno
Cats and Meows in L.A.
June 27, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again
Jonathan Cook
Hersh’s New Syria Revelations Buried From View
Edward Hunt
Excessive and Avoidable Harm in Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Death of Democracy Both Here and Abroad and All Those Colorful Sneakers
Gary Leupp
Immanuel Kant on Electoral Interference
Kenneth Surin
Theresa May and the Tories are in Freefall
Slavoj Zizek
Get the Left
Robert Fisk
Saudi Arabia Wants to Reduce Qatar to a Vassal State
Ralph Nader
Driverless Cars: Hype, Hubris and Distractions
Rima Najjar
Palestinians Are Seeking Justice in Jerusalem – Not an Abusive Life-Long Mate
Norman Solomon
Is ‘Russiagate’ Collapsing as a Political Strategy?
Binoy Kampmark
In the Twitter Building: Tech Incubators and Altering Perceptions
Dean Baker
Uber’s Repudiation is the Moment for the U.S. to Finally Start Regulating the So-called Sharing Economy
Rob Seimetz
What I Saw From The Law
George Wuerthner
The Causes of Forest Fires: Climate vs. Logging
June 26, 2017
William Hawes – Jason Holland
Lies That Capitalists Tell Us
Chairman Brandon Sazue
Out of the Shadow of Custer: Zinke Proves He’s No “Champion” of Indian Country With his Grizzly Lies
Patrick Cockburn
Grenfell Tower: the Tragic Price of the Rolled-Back Stat
Joseph Mangano
Tritium: Toxic Tip of the Nuclear Iceberg
Ray McGovern
Hersh’s Big Scoop: Bad Intel Behind Trump’s Syria Attack
Roy Eidelson
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Geoff Beckman
Why Democrats Lose: the Case of Jon Ossoff
Matthew Stevenson
Travels Around Trump’s America
David Macaray
Law Enforcement’s Dirty Little Secret
Colin Todhunter
Future Shock: Imagining India
Yoav Litvin
Animals at the Roger Waters Concert
Binoy Kampmark
Pride in San Francisco
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail