Pakistan: Close To The Edge

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 bullsh*t 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?

[Cross-posted from OOIBC]

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    This thought from Jeff Huber (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 06, 2007 at 11:09:28 AM EST
    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...

    makes the MAD Doctrine of the sixties and seventies look like playschool.

    Forgot about these diaries Edger sorry (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Aaron on Sat Nov 10, 2007 at 03:38:51 PM EST
    Good links. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Sat Nov 10, 2007 at 03:49:33 PM EST
    Thanks, Aaron.

    Democracy slipping away, Pakistan and U. S. (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Aaron on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 06:23:38 AM EST
    The Coup at Home By FRANK RICH

    Good article, Aaron (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 08:42:41 AM EST
    Re: Mr. Bush has constantly told the world he's championing democracy even as he strangles it. Mr. Bush repeated the word "freedom" 27 times in roughly 20 minutes at his 2005 inauguration

    In an interview with Pablo Navarrete at Venezuelanalysis dot com, John Pilger says of his recent film The War On Democracy (1.5 hour video):

    JP: I happened to watch George Bush's second inauguration address in which he pledged to "bring democracy to the world." He mentioned the words "democracy" and "liberty" twenty one times. It was a very important speech because, unlike the purple prose of previous presidents (Ronald Reagan excluded), he left no doubt that he was stripping noble concepts like "democracy" and "liberty" of their true meaning - government, for, by and of the people.

    I wanted to make a film that illuminated this disguised truth -- that the United States has long waged a war on democracy behind a facade of propaganda designed to contort the intellect and morality of Americans and the rest of us. For many of your readers, this is known. However, for others in the West, the propaganda that has masked Washington's ambitions has been entrenched, with its roots in the incessant celebration of World War Two, the "good war", then "victory" in the cold war. For these people, the "goodness" of US power represents "us". Thanks to Bush and his cabal, and to Blair, the scales have fallen from millions of eyes.  I would like "The War on Democracy" to contribute something to this awakening.
    In the United States, the testimony of those who ran the "backyard" echo those who run that other backyard, Iraq; sometimes they are the same people.
    But the world seems fed up with the bullsh*t and is finally moving to do what the American public seems unable to do; contain the imperial ambitions of the neocons.

    Multipolarity: An End to US Hegemony??

    China, India, Brazil and South Africa have joined in a political and economic compact to resist the domination of the United States and Europe. The political-economy of capitalism dictates that these nations must be dealt with. The social realities of the United States dictate that it cannot raise a military force sufficient to suppress the dark masses. Europe learned this lesson a generation ago. Now it is time for the white supremacist Americans to learn the same lesson: they cannot rule the world.

    The smell of orchestration in Musharraf's actions (none / 0) (#6)
    by Aaron on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 09:46:15 AM EST
    It almost an exact parallel (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 10:53:53 AM EST
    to the bumbling fu*kups by the CIA in Iran that led to the revolution there in the 70's, isn't it?

    Operation Ajax was hatched--the brainchild of the CIA's Middle East chief, Kermit Roosevelt, who directed it from Tehran.(35) Also sent there was Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, whose job was to recruit anti-Mossadegh forces with CIA money.(36) The objective of Operation Ajax was to help the shah get rid of Mossadegh and replace him with the shah's choice for prime minister, Gen. Fazlollas Zahedi, who had been jailed by the British during World War II for pro-Nazi activities.(37)

    The covert operation began, appropriately enough, with assurances to Mossadegh from the U.S. ambassador, Loy Henderson, that the United States did not plan to intervene in Iran's internal affairs. The operation then filled the streets of Tehran with mobs of people--many of them thugs-- who were loyal to the shah or who had been recipients of CIA largess. In the ensuing turmoil, which included fighting in the streets that killed 300 Iranians, Mossadegh fled and was arrested. On August 22, 12 days after he had fled, the shah returned to Tehran.
    Once restored to power, the shah entered into an agreement with an international consortium, 40 percent of which was held by American oil companies, for the purchase of Iranian oil. It was symptomatic of the postwar displacement of British by U.S. interests that the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was not restored to its previous dominance.(42) In succeeding years the United States regarded the shah as a key ally in the Middle East and provided his repressive and corrupt government with billions of dollars in aid and arms.

    The restoration of the shah to the Peacock Throne engendered immense hostility toward the United States and had cataclysmic consequences. The revolutionary torrent that built up was ultimately too much for even the United States to handle. By the late 1970s the shah and his poor record on human rights had become so repugnant to the State Department under Cyrus Vance that almost any alternative was deemed preferable to the shah's rule. But the shah had his defenders at the Pentagon and on the National Security Council who still thought he was important to regional stability and who favored his taking decisive action to restore order. President Carter at first was ambivalent. U.S. policy evolved from a suggestion that the shah gradually relinquish power to a call for him to leave the country. On January 16, 1979, the shah, as he had in 1953, took leave of his country--this time for good.(43)

    When the monarchy was finally overthrown in the 1978-79 revolution, which was inspired by Islamic fundamentalism and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranians held Americans hostage for over a year at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and the United States suffered a humiliating repudiation of its foreign policy in the Middle East.

    The neocons never learn. They keep ignoring history thinking that they will somehow be able to dominate the world and that if only they'll keep making the same idiotic mistakes long enough, regardless of how many people die, they'll get luck some day.



    And this time around (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Sun Nov 11, 2007 at 12:19:27 PM EST
    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.