The Uzbek lobby vs. Herman Cain

The Uzbek lobby vs. Herman Cain

The title of this Ben Smith post is slightly misleading. It’s not Uzbeks who are angry about Herman Cain’s argument that he doesn’t need to know the names of silly little countries like Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan, it’s Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan’s people in Washi-washi-washington:

And Carolyn Lamm, head of the American Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce, blasted Cain’s comments.

“Anyone who’s going to lead our country needs to know about our important foreign relationships,” she said.

“U.S. business in Uzbekistan is very important, some of our top companies are doing excellent business there, including Boeing and Case New Holland,” Lamm said. "It does enhance jobs in the United States. So it’s incorrect to think that it doesn’t, and really a conversation with any of our members would probably tell you in great detail why that is and how that is.”

I was interested to see Lamm quoted, and to note that she’s now leading the American Uzbek Chamber of Commerce. Back in 2009, FP ran a story after she was named president of the American Bar Association, noting her past work as a lobbyist for Uzbekistan and as a lawyer for company owned by Gulnara Karimova, the globetrotting daughter of the country’s president. At the time she was a vice president at the chamber of commerce. The connection was particularly unfortunate given that the ABA’s own office promoting rule of law in Uzbekistan had been forced to shut down shortly after the 2005 Andijan massacre. Lamm’s response to the article is here.

All the same, there is a very good case to be made, and Joshua Foust makes it here, that Uzbekistan is a country that a wannabe U.S. president ought to have some familiarity with… or at least pretend to.