Remember this the next time Bush talks about his support for freedom and democracy around the world:
This week President Bush will be rolling out the red carpet for Nursultan Nazarbayev, the autocratic leader of Kazakhstan who is currently under investigation by the Justice Department for accepting millions of dollars in bribes.
Nazarbayev has banned opposition parties, intimidated the press and profited from his post, according to the U.S. government. But he also sits atop massive oil reserves that have helped open doors in Washington.
Nazarbayev is the elected leader of Kazakhstan in the same way that Saddam Hussein was the elected leader of Iraq. He won his last “election” with more than 91 percent of the vote, but that’s not hard to do when you have outlawed the political opposition and when your political opponents keep winding up gunned down on the side of the road.