Monday, June 11, 2007

A Thundering NYT Editorial

Today a NYT editorial openly criticized the Bush Administration for continuing to support Musharraf.


Pakistan’s Dictator
Published: June 11, 2007

"If Gen. Pervez Musharraf were the democratic leader he indignantly insists he is, he would not be so busy threatening independent news outlets, arresting hundreds of opposition politicians and berating parliamentary leaders and ministers from his own party for insufficient loyalty to his arbitrary and widely unpopular policies.

But nobody takes General Musharraf’s democratic claims seriously anymore, except for the Bush administration, which has put itself in the embarrassing position of propping up the Muslim world’s most powerful military dictator as an essential ally in its half-baked campaign to promote democracy throughout the Muslim world. Washington needs to disentangle America, quickly, from the general’s damaging embrace.

Ever since his high-handed dismissal of the country’s independent-minded chief justice in March, the general has been busily digging himself into an ever deeper political hole.

Last week, he issued a decree giving himself increased powers to shut down independent television channels, but under mounting pressure he withdrew it over the weekend. More than 300 local political leaders in Punjab were arrested in an effort to head off protests against the decree. Still, thousands of lawyers, journalists and political activists gathered to protest the firing, the censorship and the general’s continued rule. Pakistan seems to be rapidly approaching a critical turning point, with a choice between intensified repression and instability or an orderly transition back to democratic rule.

Were Washington now to begin distancing itself from the general, it would greatly encourage civic-minded Pakistanis to step up the pressure for free national elections. That’s a process the chief justice was trying to make possible when he was fired. And that is what Pakistan’s last two democratically elected leaders — Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif — are both campaigning for from abroad. The United States should be supporting these efforts, not continuing to make excuses for General Musharraf.

Pakistan has its share of violent Islamic extremists, military and civilian. But they are clearly in the minority. The best hope for diluting their political, and geopolitical, influence lies not in heating the pressure cooker of repression, but in promoting the earliest possible democratic elections."


Anonymous said...

I think I will repost my comment posted in a similar context earlier.

Ever heard of FDR's SOBs, there is an excellent and YES HIGHLY PERTINANT essay by Charles Krauthamnmer in TIME magazine of September 23 2002 titled Dictators and Double Standards.

Later in the October 21 issues of TIME magazine there was a letter which I am repeating below:

As a Pakistani, I was saddened to see our President depicted as one of the "lesser evils" in Krauthammer's essay.
But I am confident that Musharraf got a kick out of it, was even secretly gleeful to be grouped with such malevolent giants as Stalin, the Shah of Iran and Marcos. With all due respect to Franklin Roosevelt and his quip that Nicaragua's Samoza was "a son of bitch. But he is our son ofa bitch", it is the mother who nurtures the infant and show shim how to walk and talk. So if the enfante terrible behaves inappropriately, please understand that s.o.b's across the globe are walking the walk and talking the talk.

The above mentioned essay and letter sum up the Presidential Predicament and our history.

Ill add to it in case we have any Ghairat left. And this addresses all Generals, Politicians and whosoever defines establishment in Pakistan > Abay Lullo Yeh Jeena Bhee Koi Jeena Hay ( courtesy Big Bacchan)


Anonymous said...

Renowned scholar-activist Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy said “all of Pakistan’s military rulers have been propped by US imperialism and the present government is no different”. He said that “the unelected government had persistently supported American geo-strategic interests in the region, not unlike a mercenary army, and it was clearly accountable to the US rather than its own people”. He said that “the government had reneged on virtually all commitments made to the Pakistani people and country’s foreign policy was still based on jingoistic nationalism rather than a principled independence which is what the Pakistani people demand”. He said that “western governments were also culpable in the unelected long-term domination of Pakistani politics and that this nexus would continue to be the source of military power. Musharraf and his generals are determined to stay in power. They will protect the source of their power — the army. They will accommodate those they must — the Americans. They will pander to the mullahs. They will crush those who threaten their power and privilege, and ignore the rest. No price is too high for them”.
The USA’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has said that there was little evidence to suggest that the Pakistan Army had any intention of forgoing its control over the political scenario in the country. It added that the Pakistan Army has continued “to expand its Economic Empire in the country".

AAS said...

I really don't trust the editorial board of the NYT nor most of the things they rave and rant about when it comes to foreign policy but this time i agree with them.

libertarian said...

onlooker: NYT is too hopelessly left-wing to be credible when attacking right-of-center US policy. Much more credible is the right-wing WSJ. Here's something that they featured. (If you get "subscription required" search for "musharraf wall street journal" in Google news)

AAS said...

I have been thinking a great deal lately. I have been looking at the various parties and want to take part in the political proces...but i have not decided on any so far. Wouldn't it be interesting to see the CJ and Ahsan form a new political party?

I am not sure why Ahsan still supports BB...but i would not mind supporting this lot and seeing where Pakistan ends up.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to throw out a link to some thoughts I contributed on my blog about this NY Times editorial. If you check it out, you'll see that I found the NYT argument lacking, to say the least...

The blog's great -- keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...