The Limits of Reporting on Central Asia

Some thoughts I threw together over at Registan.net, basically center on the tragedy that is reporting on Central Asia. This tragedy is based on our assumption, generally well-founded in western democratic political history, that actions are undertaken with logical goals in mind, centering on the furtherance of some reasoned state goal.

…the way those of us who know Central Asia talk about the region basically can’t be published in most Western news outlets. This is, of course, how some local muckrakers write about the region. With the full knowledge that, when an action is taken that seems self-defeating and ill-conceived, the personal logic of the executor almost never matches the logical interests of ‘the State’ or ‘the Citizen’. There may not be any good reason – but there does not have to be.

It is nearly impossible to get to the bottom of the motives behind some of the worst decisions made in this region. But, newspapers have no choice but to publish them on their own terms. Maybe this is why elites in this region (and as Russia as well) assume we are such fools as to believe their stated aims are primary.