This is surreal:

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has underlined the need for moderate Pakistani forces to join hands in order to resist extremism and continue economic progress and commended President Musharraf’s important role in “bringing Pakistan back from the brink.”

This comes in the same week that Bhutto is preparing to take her party out of parliament because of what Musharraf is doing, and there are already PML-N (Sharif’s allies) and MMA MPs pulling out of parliament to boycott the election.  They even have cricketing legend Imran Khan on their side–let Condi Rice put that in her “sport is a universal language” pipe and smoke it.  Musharraf isn’t bringing Pakistan back from the brink–he’s heading straight for it.  This confirms my impression that the administration has no idea what it’s doing in Pakistan. 

At the same time, the security situation in the northwest is deteriorating.  Clearly, something other than more of Musharraf’s clumsy and haphazard responses to crisis is needed.  It is probably too late to urge him to step aside now.  Washington has already publicly backed him too far to change.