Though the Bush Administration is glibly mocked for making Mr. Musharraf an “exception” to the Bush Doctrine, the U.S. has no interest in destabilizing a nuclear-armed government already under a jihadist threat. ~The Wall Street Journal
Without pre-empting any of my forthcoming column, let me say very briefly on a separate question that it is not the toleration of Pakistan that bothers critics nearly as much as the Bush Doctrine itself. By the standards of the Doctrine (regime change carried out against supposed and real proliferating, terrorist-supporting rogue states), if so it can be called, Pakistan ought to be one of our top state enemies, since it has done both in spades. Since that would clearly be insane and inimical to actual U.S. interests, the Bush Doctrine doesn’t actually have a lot to recommend it in the real world. Its application against a regime that fits the Doctrine’s description least well of all the possible candidates simply drives home the hollowness of the Doctrine.
The Journal concludes with the obvious analogy and displays its sudden acquisition of profound understanding of cultural difference:
Jimmy Carter made that mistake with the Shah of Iran, another imperfect Muslim ruler whose successors were infinitely worse. Pakistan is not the Philippines, a Catholic country with long ties to the U.S. whose political culture we well understood when Reagan pushed Marcos from power in 1986.
The difference between Iran then and Pakistan now is, obviously, that we did not bring Musharraf to power by overthrowing the local democratically elected government–Musharraf did that all on his own.