Thursday, December 27, 2007

Alas Bhutto

I wonder if Pakistanis are saying "God, I love freedom" today. I wonder when the idiot in chief will realize that elections in a country without stability or where stability exists only in the iron grip of a dictator, don't by themselves make a democracy.

I have no idea what the future holds for Pakistan and I have little idea what the growing chaos will mean for the US, that country's biggest supporter. I have no idea whether the most radical elements in the tribal areas will gain an advantage, or whether that country will long remain an ally, but I suspect that the upcoming elections are not landmarks on the long and tortuous path to modernity for Pakistan.

The only thing I am sure of is that our administration has no idea about how to promote liberal democracy here or abroad nor how to create the security and stability that such a condition needs in order to thrive. I'm convinced that no country so saturated with religious passion can be the host for freedom or achieve the reasonableness freedom requires.

I mourn not only Benazir Bhutto this morning, but for liberty and for peace.


d.K. said...

I mourn the same things. This is from today's Washington Post, and while I certainly don't blame the U.S. for Bhutto's assassination, I'm left wondering if, in international relations, the U.S. is able to do anything right anymore? Maybe Ron Paul is on to something...

For Benazir Bhutto, the decision to return to Pakistan was sealed during a telephone call from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just a week before Bhutto flew home in October. The call culminated more than a year of secret diplomacy -- and came only when it became clear that the heir to Pakistan's most powerful political dynasty was the only one who could bail out Washington's key ally in the battle against terrorism.

It was a stunning turnaround for Bhutto, a former prime minister who was forced from power in 1996 amid corruption charges. She was suddenly visiting with top State Department officials, dining with U.N. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and conferring with members of the National Security Council. As President Pervez Musharraf's political future began to unravel this year, Bhutto became the only politician who might help keep him in power. "The U.S. came to understand that Bhutto was not a threat to stability, but was instead the only possible way that we could guarantee stability and keep the presidency of Musharraf intact," said Mark Siegel, who lobbied for Bhutto in Washington and witnessed much of the behind-the-scenes diplomacy.

But the diplomacy that ended abruptly with Bhutto's assassination yesterday was always an enormous gamble, according to current and former U.S. policymakers, intelligence officials and outside analysts. By entering into the legendary "Great Game" of South Asia, the United States also made its goals and allies more vulnerable -- in a country in which more than 70 percent of the population already looked unfavorably upon Washington.

Capt. Fogg said...

I can't help but wonder what things would be like today if we had sent 250,000 troops into Afghanistan in 2001, sealed the borders with Pakistan and exterminated al Qaeda and the Taliban.

But we didn't. We were undermanned, inadequately equipped and poorly led and we bungled it completely and probably because Bush wanted to save assets for his sick dream of becoming the Sultan of Baghdad.

It's hard for me not to see the hand of George W. Bush - or the lack of it - in every horrible, bloody thing that has happened since he wormed his way into office. We are further from having a peaceful world than we have been for many years - and still the idiot squats in the White House and blathers about freedom.

Intellectual Insurgent said...

Pakistan was born a democracy and survived as such, despite all the so-called religious passion, until US-backed SECULAR Musharraf overthrew the democratically-elected government.

If Bhutto was a strategy to keep the tyrant, corrupt dictator Musharraf in power, no one should be surprised by such blowback. And, if that really is the case, she got what she deserved.

Capt. Fogg said...

I'm not sure Bhutto herself planned to be part of keeping Musharraf in power. I think Bush did.

I wasn't surprised and I wrote some months ago that I thought there would be violence.

I don't think the extremists in Waziristan are going to be content with any government in which they do not have considerable power and I don't see their influence being an aid to any kind of democracy worth being called such.

Intellectual Insurgent said...

There is always going to be violence when a nation is ruled by a dictator. One need not consult a crystal ball to confirm that fact of life.

Pakistan has always been a Muslim nation. Funny that these so-called "extremists" (from Waziristan or wherever) have gained so much alleged power in the time the U.S. has been Pakistan's strongest ally. Who do you think arms them?

I smell a false flag operation ala the Lavon Affair.

Capt. Fogg said...

Of course it has - the British partitioned India to create a Muslim country. Partitioning seems to have been the colonial fashion in those days.

The Bush administration has sunk many billions into Pakistan and I have no idea where it goes or whether an account has ever been given. Perhaps a dollar or two has been misspent arming the wrong people?

As to a false flag operation - I stopped being surprised at anything our government does some time ago.

If Osama is hiding there (and is alive) along with his compadres, would it be a stretch to call him an extremist?

I still stand by my statement that religious extremism of any brand is incompatible with a non-authoritarian and free society; as I understand freedom anyway. That doesn't mean I like military dictatorships, by any means; it just means that religion is based on peremptory authority, whether relatively benign or not.