When will these guys and these guys and these guys and especially this guy recognize that democracy and free elections are not a cure to all the world’s ills. That they end up bringing to power people like this and this and this and this and this who don’t share our values and who certainly don’t support our policies.
Remember Sprint’s sticking to the man television commercial? We see a pompous business executive discussing the Sprint plan and then telling his assistant that joining the plan is his way of “sticking it to the Man.” The assistant is shocked: “But, sir, you ARE the Man.” “I know,” responds the executive “So you’re sticking it to yourself,” his aide ask. The executive: “Maybe.” Which is exactly what America’s Freedom Agenda has achieved in the Middle East — sticking it to itself –empowering Iran’s allies in Iraq, the Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine — the same forces that oppose U.S. policies in the Middle East.
And now after what our democratic freaks got exactly what they had wished for — elections in Pakistan — we basically have the country ruled by by two crooks, Benazir’s Bhutto’s widower and an incompetent ex-PM. And this is what the Financial Times reports on this great South Asian democracy:
Pakistan’s uneasy ruling coalition between the party of Benazir Bhutto, the assassinated former prime minister, and that of Nawaz Sharif, her erstwhile rival, is facing mounting criticism for its failure to deal with pressing issues, five months after taking power.
Critics say the alliance is practically ignoring worsening political and economic conditions while it focuses on forcing out Pervez Musharraf, the pro-US president who built up his credentials as Washington’s main ally in fighting terrorism.
His removal would avenge the 1999 coup led by Mr Musharraf, then the chief of army staff, when Mr Sharif, then prime minister, was arrested and exiled to Saudi Arabia.
Such political score-settling is troubling for Pakistan’s allies, particularly the US, who are keen to see the government tackle the deteriorating economy and the fast-spreading influence of Islamic extremists. Meeting such objectives is certain to be compromised in a leadership vacuum.
Other US officials go further, warning that the country is becoming directionless. “The problem is that Pakistan needs some kind of centralised control and authority. The challenges faced by Pakistan are so huge that we need a strong central voice. That central element of leadership appears to be increasingly missing, especially when you have so much infighting,” says a Washington official.
And it sounds like we are now all hoping, and wishing and praying for a military coup in Pakistan:
Meanwhile, the military, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half its 61-year existence as an independent state, is showing some signs of moving towards a more neutral political role. In December, General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, Mr Musharraf’s successor as army chief, ordered all officers serving in civilian positions to return to their units, reversing eight years of military involvement in civilian affairs.
“The military and President Musharraf should have had a strong say in daily decision-making. They don’t have the clout they did before,” says a western ambassador in Islamabad. “With the new government showing few signs of becoming active on vital issues, it is almost as if nobody is running Pakistan full-time.”
As I suggested in a policy analysis Pakistan in America’s War against Terrorism: Strategic Ally or Unreliable Client? that was published in 2002, predicting all the problems America is now facing in its relationship with Pakistan, our main concern in South and Central Asia should not be promoting democracy and free elections but securing core U.S. national interests. That rule applies also to other parts of the world. The problem with Musharraf wasn’t his anti-democratic tendencies — but the fact that he has failed to deliver.