Dirty Diplomacy: The Rough-and-Tumble Adventures of a Scotch-Drinking, Skirt-Chasing, Dictator-Busting, and Thoroughly Unrepentant Ambassador Stuck on the Frontline of the War Against Terror
By Craig Murray
Scribner, 2007, 384 pp
To call him controversial scarcely does justice to British understatement. A self-confessed womanizing, hard-drinking, bar-crawling Scot and British ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2005, Murray earned the antipathy of the Islam Karimov regime and the displeasure of the British home office by raising an unrelenting ruckus over the Uzbeks' harsh authoritarianism, including their extensive use of torture. His disdain for his London superiors because of their unwillingness to see the Uzbek regime as it was and say so for fear of jeopardizing Tashkent's role in the war against terrorism is matched only by his criticism of the more fervid soft-pedaling marking post-9/11 U.S. policy. Before he was sacked, Murray poked into many quarters of political, social, and commercial life in Uzbekistan, and he here provides a sharp-edged account of it all. His saga must be something of a wonder for students at the University of Dundee, where he is now rector.