First of all, my apologies to any Uzbekis who read the post below. I have not met any in my life, and I'm sure they're very nice people. That said, I have certain opinions about the history of that whole region that may not be very complimentary.
The situation in Uzbekistan is getting less coverage than the news about some fat frenchmen going on strike over losing a holiday. What's going on there is outright scary and U.S. reaction to the situation so far is completely hypocritical.
1. 700 people are dead and counting - the government forces have literally been mowing down demonstrators and are now digging mass graves. The Uzbekistan government response to any criticism is "Islamic terrorists" are behind everything. White House has barely budged. Given the scale of Uzbekistan, this is much bigger than Tiananmen Square for the whole region. Maybe they're still trying to locate Andijan on the map. From a simple human rights perspective this situation is outrageous, whether there's a bunch of Islamists behind the demonstrations or not.
- US reaction to the recent events in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgizstan has been very different, given that it fit much better with our strategic interests. Silence on Uzbekistan just makes complete mockery of our "democracy is for everyone" statements.
- Most importantly (and I know I'm gonna get flamed for this) - I think that the current situation in Uzbekistan is a direct result of hornet's nest we've stirred up in the region by allowing the flow of ex-Taliban fighters and heroin money out of Afghanistan and by encouraging unrest in the Central Asian countries without realizing the historical fact that they're nowhere close to being able to handle an elective democracy.
The reality of Central Asia is the following - the se countries had great civilizations about a thousand years ago before being run over by the mongols and thrown back to the stone age. When Russian Empire absorbed them in the 19th century, they were still tribal cattle herding societies. 70 years of communism resulted in an arrival of education and sewer systems but did little for actual development of these societies - the Communists simply suppressed the old tribal feuds and power struggles, which resurfaced after the demise of the Soviet Union. Thus, fermenting unrest in these countries in the climate where Islamist terrorists are looking for new homes will result in anything BUT peaceful representative democracies in the near future.
If the reality of that region for Russia, US and China is that the Central Asian republics need to be kept under local ironmen for a couple more decades, then we're all better off at least admitting it and focusing on more pressing Middle East problems. Sending mixed messages to the region is the worst thing we can do (the history of the 20th century, from Salvadore to Iraq to Sudan is too painful of a reminder).