"Authoritarian leaders especially in Uzbekistan, the main player, continue to ignore pleas for change in their human rights practices. They are misreading - sometimes willfully - the signals sent by the United States that political reform is important, too, and continuing in the belief that as valued partners they can do pretty much as they like.
America continues to be a major donor of programmes to promote democracy and civil rights in Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and to a limited extent Turkmenistan. Officials argue they are doing a lot to encourage change in places like Uzbekistan.
But many analysts argue that these positive initiatives have now been so overshadowed by the military agenda, where a readiness to provide air bases and other facilities is key to improving relations, that regional governments feel empowered to ignore them and continue with poor policies that threaten to alienate their populations."