November 15, 2007
Pakistan Semi-Open Thread
As things seem to be going to hell there, and as none of the posters here pretend to any particular insight or experience about Pakistan, I'm going to just open up a thread and let our commenters have at it.
And a quote from the Karon:
Musharraf didn’t declare emergency rule because he feared Bhutto’s challenge; he declared emergency rule because the Supreme Court was about to rule that he was not, in fact, legitimately the president of Pakistan, because he violated the constitution by standing for the presidency while in command of the military. And the reason Bhutto appeared to hesitate when it happened was obvious: She has as much to fear from the independent judiciary in Pakistan as Musharraf does. The same judges threatening to strip Musharraf of the presidency had also warned that the amnesty extended by him to Bhutto — absolving her of numerous corruption charges — was also illegal.
Posted by tomscud at November 15, 2007 08:52 AM
Filed Under: Central Asia
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There's lots of interesting commentary on the current situation in Pakistan written by Pakistanis. The Guardian has been doing a decent job, too. I recommend this blog particularly:
And also Barnett Rubin's and Manan Ahmed's commentary at icga.blogspot.com
Posted by: SP at November 16, 2007 08:58 AM
this is clever, from Chapati Mystery's article on 'our cute little dictators' - how dictatorship feeds a need for Westerners to believe that 'they are not ready for democracy, and need a firm hand to guide them until they are' - while feeding the mouth that will ultimately bite off their hand...
we outsource our plumage-needs. There are many a people who have the ability to produce a variety of genus homo dictatorus - with a little support and guidance from us. ... We support their nascent abilities to lead their people. We put their glamorous, glittering visages on our papers and our screens - hungrily following them from “crisis” to “crisis”... Now and then, we remind ourselves that our support for these dictators is not “permanent” and that one day soon, they should bring “democracy” to their people.
But, come on. We are smart people here. We know how it is. Democracy is _way_WAY_ complicated. Electoral colleges, and votes and quorums and, oh, those hanging chads! We know that these people have no idea how to successfully keep the poor from clogging up the mainstream with their opinions or even how a black-robed junta can strike an election towards the candidate who lost. Those are skills that take centuries to learn. Still, we ask of these inveterate performers to keep an eye on the road ahead - to tell us that you are working very, very hard in training the people in democracy. We ask them to believe that freedom is the birthright of every human on this planet. They have the freedom to enslave their people. We have the freedom to fund that march for freedom. To those among us, dour on the inside and out, who make loud pronouncements about repression and oppression and all that. Please. This is a completely harmless species. They bark. But they do not bite. And they are necessary. For their people. And also, for us.
Posted by: dawud at November 16, 2007 05:33 PM
From colonialism to cold war to whatever one should call what we have now. Well, many right-wingers feel fine about Pinochet, whereas many lefties were utterly blind to what communism was in reality.
Though I don't really think a lot of people outside North America bought that bull about democracy. The neoconservative project, when examined in even slight detail, is nothing but a new kind of colonialism. Working closely with Uzbekistan's Karimov. Bremer holding Americans+contractors unaccountable before Iraqi law. Working on the assumption that Iraqis really want to be Americans, etc. Nevertheless, it doesn't seem to me that the USA can do very much about wherever Pakistan is headed, or indeed Iraq. Their army is utterly tied up and worn down, and beyond that their financial and diplomatic power is waning.
I mean, does Musharraf really need the USA as much as they need Pakistan?
Right now he seems to be needing the USA a whole lot. At least to me, who knows nothing about Pakistan, this is beginning to look like a textbook case of a dictator losing the grip on his country. All his stumbling between raw repression and pathetic pleading ... it's, I don't know, Shah-ish. If I must place a bet, my money is on a neat little palace coup in the coming months, absent a desperate deal with Bhutto/others.
But about that. I read here a while ago, an interesting post about how China is in fact a much bigger presence than the US in Pakistan, even if Western media tends to view things exclusively through a Bush-Musharraf lens. (Via the always brilliant Blood & Treasure.)
Posted by: alle at November 16, 2007 07:56 PM
mm, yes. From ICGA, Manan Ahmed:
The third observation, my how the times have changed ... there is no mention at all of India. This is a testament to how drastic is the shift in South Asian geopolitics since the invasion of Afghanistan. China's role in the economic growth of Pakistan - from their investment in mobile and transportation infrastructure to their investments in Baluchistan emerge out at the top while American concerns are barely mentioned - and are actually completely absent in the English portion of his remarks.
China gunning up to be the new Evil Empire. But what the hell do I know.
Posted by: Klaus at November 16, 2007 08:45 PM
Why not get some news from horse's mouth?
Here's a blog by students protesting- http://pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com/
Pakistaniat ( http://pakistaniat.com/ ) has a number of pieces.
Posted by: Manas Shaikh at November 18, 2007 07:22 AM
Washington Post on US contacts with the Pakistani army's second-in-command, Ashfaq Kiyani.
Posted by: alle at November 21, 2007 09:56 AM
not about pakistan.. i was coming here to see if anyone had thoughts about the recent nytimes sunday magazine article on a moroccan city where a handful of residents became part of armed thingies.
I will link and hope someone will later write a review of the article.
i imagine the author didn't choose the stupid title.
Posted by: lisa at November 25, 2007 05:25 PM