Monday, November 05, 2007

Pakistan Problems

Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister of Pakistan, declared "emergency rule" on Saturday. He dissolved the Supreme Court, and has been arresting people he doesn't like. According to the AP-Wire:
Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup and is also head of Pakistan's army, suspended the constitution on Saturday ahead of a Supreme Court ruling on whether his recent re-election as president was legal. He ousted seven independent-minded Supreme Court judges, put a stranglehold on independent media and granted sweeping powers to authorities to crush dissent.
Here's my cynical take on the situation, based on my earlier analysis of Turkey.

While Bush, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the rest of the so-called neo-cons could be considered non-"realists" in foreign policy (a nice way of calling them morons), I've always felt that Cheney was a realist. Mainly because Cheney, like Nixon and his ilk, couldn't give a good goddam about liberty and freedom. Realists know that the best foreign government isn't a free Democracy; it's a dictatorship that's loyal to US interests.

Allied dictatorships, while being oppressive and against human rights and all that, have the wonderful tendency to do what we want them to do. And I can imagine that Musharraf - seeing the writing on the wall with Bhutto returning - felt that it was time to tighten his reign on power... and asked Cheney for his blessing. And got it.

What's the downside? Pakistan becomes even more able to crush the Islamicist threat, hunt down Osama, and all it takes is for the US to wink at 'em. The only people who lose are Pakistani lawyers. And human rights, yeah, but all kidding aside I'm not sure how well Pakistan was doing before the current power-grab.

In any case, the silver lining to Musharraf's gambit is that we get a better ally in the region. And all due to the realist school of foreign policy. Messy business, this.

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