Saturday, November 3, 2007

Power Tools

Poor Condi Rice. What's a freedom-totin' democracy-lovin' gal to do these days? General Pervez "the Perv" Musharraf, loyal Bushie and self-proclaimed US ally in "the war on terra", has today taken the magnanimous step of declaring martial law in Pakistan.

Musharraf has become a vexing little problem for the Bush administration. Ostensibly a friend to the neocons in the administration, his actions since he grabbed power in a bloodless coup eight years ago have cast a serious cloud of doubt over his sincerity. He is a dictator, to be sure, at times adorning himself in glittering military paraphernalia that would have made Idi Amin blush. But recently, he has made a point of appearing in civilian attire, even as he announced the end of the Rule of Law, the suspension of TV and telephone services, and the arrest and detention of several prominent members of the judicial branch. He is nothing if not savvy.
Pakistan has become openly what many have observed it to be privately for years - namely a dangerous country populated by a combustible blend of democrats, Islamists, terrorists, and tribal people of indeterminate loyalty. A country led by an ambitious and at times ruthless man who, via the army, has held a vice grip on power for nearly a decade and is clearly in no rush to let it go. Musharraf has been torn between his own declining popularity, a judiciary that has grown tired of his continued disrespect of the Constitution, an insurgency within his own country, a leaky border with Afghanistan, tensions with tribal peoples, and a still simmering problem in Kashmir. He's been juggling, but dropping balls over the years.
The return of Benazir Bhutto didn't help matters much. And with some chief justices musing openly last week about ruling his presidency illegal, the stage was set for dramatic action.
“Unless General Musharraf reverses the course it will be very difficult to have fair elections,” [Bhutto] told Sky News television by telephone. “I agree with him that we are facing a political crisis, but I believe the problem is dictatorship, I don’t believe the solution is dictatorship."
And, speaking for Bush, Condi has meekly voiced the opinion that the USA does not support "extraconstitutional measures" (waterboarding, the Patriot Act, and Guantanamo Bay notwithstanding, apparently). Let the good times roll.


MD said...

Hey Red Canuck:

Very well put. As you already know, the pro-Pakistan policy of western powers post Sep 11 has irritated me immensely (And Canada is no exception...Lloyd Axworthy was the only foreign minister to see Musharraf for what he is. Oh how far our foriegn policy has sunk since then!) Western support of the Pakistani military and ISI is trouble for the whole neighbourhood. It is likely costing civilian and military lives in both Afghanistan on one side and India on the other.

I very much enoyed the video you posted. More serious than your usual videos, but informative. I must confess that I had never heard of the "The Real News Network" until your video. I've perused the sight and it seems like a very promising enterprise. Interestingly, it is supported by Eric Margolis, who is one of the few conservatives genuinely bothered by the poor quality of mainstream media's coverage of issues (and this from a Sun writer!).

Red Canuck said...

MD - Thanks!

I stumbled accross the Real News Network a few days ago, and I've enjoyed watching many of their items since. Time will tell whether such an enterprise will last, but it seems grounded in well-intentioned principles. It also appears to have the support of Gore Vidal and George Monbiot, so I have high hopes.

The situation in Pakistan is quite distressing to me. Short of a coup, I have difficulty seeing how Musharraf will ever relinquish power. Bhutto's vision of some sort of fair elections seems like a pipe dream right now, at a time when judges and lawyers are being thrown in jail. Condi's words hardly befit the seriousness of events in Pakistan. And our own little statement from Maxime Bernier wasn't much more inspiring either.

ASD said...

It is amazing that George W and the Western leaders are still buying the smoke screens from the Perv. Of course the Talibans (alQueda's new recruits) were originally created with American money by Pakistan's infamous ISI to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. ISI is the extension of the Military under king Perv and continues to support the Talibans and the activities of hundreds of Madarsas or Jihadi Factories in Pakistan. These government supported Jihadis have been terrorising Indian Kashmir for decades. It is, then, not surprising that sucide bombers appear coveniently at rallies that seem to oppose the king's rule! The Perv obviously does not want to loose his power over the military and ISI (abosulte power currupts absolutely!) because ISI is also the major hub for the Afghani opium export and allows Perv and scores of currupt officers and elite community members to enjoy a lifestyle that they have got accostomed to.

Anonymous said...

I remember Ignatieff saying (I think during the leadership campaign) that the world leaders should be dealing with Pakistan with respect to the terrorists ....but, no one was listening to him.

Does anyone else get the feeling that all hell is going to break loose soon?