President Saparmurat Niazov visited the United States lastweek. He held talks in New York and Washington with Amoco, Unocal, Shell,and Bechtel and met with President Bill Clinton and the usual panoply offoreign-policy and national-security officials. The U.S. government agreedto fund a feasibility study on construction of a trans-Caspian pipeline tobring Turkmen gas to Baku in Azerbaijan, for onward shipment to Turkey andmarkets in the west…. Both the New York Times and the Washington Postpublished editorials describing President Niazov as an unreconstructedSoviet-era dictator. (When a reporter asked him about the incarceration ofleaders of the political opposition in prisons and mental hospitals, Niazovreplied: “There is no political opposition in Turkmenistan. You weremisinformed.”) Both papers deplored the courtesies paid to Niazov andcomplained that the United States government allowed oil and gas to trumphuman rights. Neither, however, proposed any change in policy.