Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pakistan: Close To The Edge

Benazir Bhutto speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
London, UK, July 20th, 2007
(Click the "Open Tools" button for program chapters within the video)

Alok Bansal, Research Fellow at New Delhi's Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis.
Musharraf's last gamble
The decision by Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf to declare emergency is the desperate attempt of an autocrat to cling to power. In the process he has irreparably damaged the foundations of constitutionalism in Pakistan, which were never strong to begin with. His actions will not only erode Pakistani state's authority but may sound the death knell for the Islamic Republic.
Also from Bansal,
60 Years of Pakistan
As Pakistan completes 60 years of existence, it is passing through a critical phase. The state's writ does not run over almost half its territory. Most people consider themselves as Sindhis, Baloch, Pakhtoons, Mohajirs and Punjabis first rather than as Pakistanis. Pakistan as a nation is kept together artificially by the only institution that functions - the army.

Despite belated attempts by the judiciary to assert its independence, the fact is that for most part of Pakistan's existence the courts have been dysfunctional and came out with the bizarre 'Doctrine of Necessity' to justify military coups. Pakistan's greatest tragedy has been that barring the armed forces or army to be specific, no other credible institution has emerged. The judiciary, legislature and bureaucracy-all have crumbled during Pakistan's six decades' journey.
Sub-nationalism emerged as a serious threat to the Pakistani state. Islamic fundamentalists challenge the writ of the government across the length and breadth of Pakistan. Islamabad's frequent flip-flops on the foreign policy front and frequent incursions by American armed forces within Pakistani territory have compromised its sovereignty in the eyes of its citizens.
Given that history it is not too far a stretch to assume that all of Rice and Bush's protestations are nothing but smoke, mirrors, and bullshit to feed the American public, and that they helped orchestrate Musharraf's martial law, to anger Islamic fundamentalists within the country and destabilize Pakistan as much as possible.

It would not surprise me to find that at least some in the administration, particularly in Cheney's camp, would like nothing better than an Islamic fundamentalist coup or takeover of nuclear armed Pakistan to give them the perfect excuse for cranking up the WOT rhetoric again, nuking Pakistan, and Iran next door. The rapturists on Bush's side of the aisle would love it as well.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired),
yesterday at-Largely:
Musharraf has not said how long the emergency will be in effect. This is not to be confused with the state of emergency Mr. Bush declared in his country on September 14, 2001 that is still in effect and will be for the indefinite future. These two states of emergency are completely different, of course. Mr. Bush declared an emergency after terrorists attacked two major cities in his country. Mr. Musharraf declared an emergency as terrorists threatened to take control of his country.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has accused Musharraf of using the specter of terror to maintain his hold on power. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has accused Bush of using the threat of terror to commit "a gross and excessive power grab."
America is the first true global hegemon in the history of humanity. Pakistan is not and never will be. America has the largest economy of the world's nations, posting an estimate gross domestic product of over $13 trillion in 2006. Pakistan's 2006 economy, at just under $438 billion, was 26th among the world's countries, and less than four percent the size of America's.

And yet, amazingly, Pakistan can get whatever it wants from America while America can't get anything it wants from Pakistan (see, I told you the two countries were different!). Condi Rice is reviewing whether or not we should try to make Musharraf behave by cutting off his allowance, but as Senator Joe Biden (R-Delaware) has astutely noted, our "hands are tied" from cutting Pakistan's foreign aid because, despite Condi's assertions to the contrary, the Bush administration has in fact put "all its chips" on Musharraf.

That brings up a couple more differences between America and Pakistan. If Musharraf falls from power, Pakistan's nuclear weapons might fall under the control of known lunatics, while America's nuclear weapons are already under the control of known lunatics.
And who do we have to handle this situation? Condoleezza Rice and her department full of career diplomats who don't want to deploy to Iraq, the invasion of which created the foreign policy pickle barrel we now find ourselves in.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, bless this bed that we lie on…

And you thought I was was MAD?