Middle East “Democracy”

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 @ 7:14 pm | Foreign Policy, Pakistan

(Musharraf) “hasn’t crossed the line” and “truly is somebody who believes in democracy.”    -George Bush

He just has a funny way of showing it, I guess, considering it’s been eight years since he seized power in a military coup and has routinely jailed dissidents and prospective opponents. One has to ask, where is the line drawn? Considering our complacent attitudes towards the monstrous conditions one could find in everyday Saudi Arabia, Musharraf doesn’t have much to worry about.

Platitudes like the one above regarding Musharraf remind me of the Clinton administration describing Suharto as “our kind of guy” or Thomas Friedman saying of post Gulf War I, Iraq that the “best of all worlds” would be an “iron-fisted military junta” to come in and resume power. The fact is that be you Republican or Democrat, whether or not a country is a democracy or not is of no concern. Being a predictable client state is.

-mg

10 Responses to “Middle East “Democracy””

  1. The Real Sporer Says:

    What is your preference for a Pakistani government and how do you think we can get them there.

    You reject the concept that a foreign nation’s first importance to us is it’s contribution to our security? Perhaps you’d prefer Osama to Musharraf, so that the diplomatic, economic, military and nuclear resources of the Pakistani state would be available to Al Qaeda.?

  2. mike Says:

    >What is your preference for a Pakistani government and how do you think we can get them there.

    If one is serious about democracy (as I am) then wouldn’t you think that such a question should be reserved for actual Pakistani’s? Obviously this is a concept that doesn’t seem to have crossed your mind. Why the hell are you asking me? It’s not for us to decide.

    >You reject the concept that a foreign nation’s first importance to us is it’s contribution to our security? Perhaps you’d prefer Osama to Musharraf, so that the diplomatic, economic, military and nuclear resources of the Pakistani state would be available to Al Qaeda.?

    I wasn’t aware that Osama was running against Musharraf in some sort of upcoming election. With comments like that one I really think you betray yourself as having a genuine disdain for democracy as you assume that Pakistan is only capable of choosing between either a military dictator or a Wahhabist criminal. Shame on you for having such a low opinion of the Pakistani people.

    And please, stop pretending that you’re serious about Osama bin Laden. He’s out there, you know, and your beloved Dear Leader is still Commander In Chief last time I checked. If you’re so concerned then why not insist he do something about it?

  3. Jesurgislac Says:

    If I lived in the US I would be really, profoundly disturbed that George W. Bush thinks that someone who seized power unlawfully eight years ago, clearly has no intention of giving it up, and routinely imprisons without trial people who protest his regime, has not yet crossed the line.

    I’m just sayin’.

  4. mike Says:

    Well, Jes, then I guess you’ll never understand why it’s vitally important that foreign countries utilize their natural wealth not to enrich their local populations but to make sure that guys like TRS can lead a “non-negotiable” lifestyle.

  5. Plimpton Says:

    No shit, Sporer, could you please explain to us how you reconcile your hatred of Osama with the fact that after six years the fucker is still out there in the Pakistani hinterland? Or is that Bill Clinton’s fault too?

  6. mike Says:

    Plimpton> Your questions are easy to respond to as they both have the same answer; The Real Sporer doesn’t give a shit about the fact that Osama bin Laden runs free because he’s more interested in being a political hack than having any principles. So much for all that 9/11 sentimentality, eh?

  7. Jesurgislac Says:

    By the way – Pakistan is not in the Middle East. It’s in South Asia.

  8. mike Says:

    Sweet!

  9. Dana Says:

    President Bush is caught in a box: he has to offer support for President Musharraf, because Pakistan’s support is vital against al Qaeda, and Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

    Who else is there? Benezir Bhutto is not exactly a Western democrat, and would be more of a problem than Mr Musharraf if she regains power. Her regime was corrupt when she was in power before, and the fundamentalists would only increase the pressure against her if she deposed Mr Musharraf for them, because the will not be able to tolerate living under a female president.

  10. Jesurgislac Says:

    ? Benezir Bhutto is not exactly a Western democrat

    No, she’s not: she’s a South Asian democrat. Unlike either Musharraf or Bush, she has actually won two elections in Pakistan. She cannot run for office again, since Musharraf amended the constitution to permit only two terms in office – an amendment that he plainly does not intend shall apply to himself, but reasonable enough considered neutrally.

    There’s a wild, crazy thought for you, Dana: the US could actually support democracy. That would mean the Pakistani electorate would get to decide for themselves who gets to run their country – rather than having a military dictator who knows he can cling to power so long as he makes the right noises about al-Qaeda, as a generation ago, military dictators knew they could count on US support against the people they ruled so long as the dictators made the right noises about Communism.

    But Bush has consistently made clear, both domestically and outside the US, that supporting democracy is unimportant to him or to his administration. This is a standard flaw in US governments; democracy for other people is never as important as the US maintaining its own power.