Jason Carter: Declining a recommendation by the Commission on International Religious Freedom, the State Department did not include Uzbekistan on its annual list of countries guilty of severe religious oppression. A Reuters article in The New York Times outlined the United States’ rocky relationship with Uzbekistan over the stationing of U.S. troops there. The piece concluded by balancing the frustration of human rights groups with an anonymous U.S. official’s speculation that including Uzbekistan on the State Department’s list would “look too political.” As fascinatingly murky as these implications are, this report could have used a little less guesswork by unnamed sources concerning the administration’s possible ulterior motives, and a little more historical perspective. For instance, Uzbekistan’s violations of religious freedoms have been thoroughly documented in every report since the State Department published its first list in 1999, and this is the first year the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended that Uzbekistan be noted as a “country of particular concern,” a dishonor given to only a handful of the nearly 200 countries the report evaluates each year. The issue is almost nominal. While there are many political, international concerns involved in determining the content of a document like this, maintaining a perspective on the magnitude of this evaluative undertaking, as well as the plethora of disparaging information regarding Uzbekistan in State Department documents, will help keep reporting from sounding as narrow-focused as it did in this article.