This Just In

3 comments November 17th, 2007at 12:45pm Posted by Eli

Apparently Musharraf was a bad bet. Who knew?

In the six years since Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, joined President Bush in the fight against Al Qaeda, it has been an unlikely partnership: a president intent on promoting democracy and a military commander who seized power in a bloodless coup.

*strangled, choking noise that could be either laughter or horror*

Experts in United States-Pakistan relations said General Musharraf has played the union masterly, by convincing Mr. Bush that he alone can keep Pakistan stable. Kamran Bokhari, an analyst for Stratfor, a private intelligence company, who met with General Musharraf in January, said the general views Mr. Bush with a degree of condescension.

“Musharraf thinks that Bush has certain weaknesses that can be manipulated,” Mr. Bokhari said, adding, “I would say that President Musharraf doesn’t think highly of President Bush, but his interests force him to do business with the U.S. president.”

I bet that if you got them drunk enough, roughly 99 to 100% of world leaders would say exactly the same thing.

Mr. Bush, by contrast, was “favorably impressed” with General Musharraf, according to Ari Fleischer, the president’s former press secretary. Mr. Fleischer recounted one session where the general had been warned in advance not to ask the president for F-16 fighter jets, because the answer would be no.

“Musharraf brought it up anyway,” Mr. Fleischer said, “and Bush told him the answer is no. But I think Bush liked the fact that he does what he wants to do, and says what’s on his mind.”

“You’re unrealistic, stubborn, and warlike. I like that in a person – especially when he’s a head of state.”

Their ties have not always helped General Musharraf; critics in Pakistan have accused him of being a tool of the United States, and derisively call him “Busharraf.” In Washington, Mr. Bush has faced criticism as well, from those who say he should have been tougher on General Musharraf, especially with top Al Qaeda operatives like Osama bin Laden still on the loose.

Richard C. Holbrooke, the ambassador to the United Nations under President Clinton, said one of Mr. Bush’s biggest mistakes was not pressing General Musharraf to turn over A. Q. Khan, the former chief of Pakistan’s nuclear program, to American interrogators.

“I don’t see that the Bush administration was wrong in 2001 to put its chips on Musharraf, who promised democracy and who promised to take off his uniform, but something has gone very badly wrong,” Mr. Holbrooke said, adding, “The question is, is this because Bush was soft on Musharraf the way he was soft on Putin?

I think Dubya has a hard time being tough on dictators because he relates to them so well. They’re not taking his pro-democracy critique seriously because he’s all the time picking their brains for advice on how to bypass the Constitution and other branches of government.

“President Musharraf made a decision the president didn’t agree with,” said Dana Perino, the White House press secretary. “We are disappointed with it, but the president doesn’t want to pre-emptively throw up his hands. He wants to help him get back on track.”

Well, that’s really laying down the law. What’s Bush gonna do, stage an intervention and try to pressure him into joining Dictators Anonymous?

The thing is, the American corporate media’s influence doesn’t extend beyond this country. Everyone else in the world community sees Dubya for the clueless, hypocritical, easily-played fool that he is. Foreign leaders, Musharraf and Putin included, know that all they have to do is stroke his ego and make him think they’re his buddy, and he’ll let them do whatever they want inside their own borders. Sure, he’ll huff and puff and bluster a little bit, but unless they’re actually in his crosshairs they know he won’t actually do anything. The only downside is the It’s A Good Life factor.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Politics,Terrorism


  • 1. Ruth  |  November 18th, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    I suspect that the cretin in chief was quoting Putin when he made the famously fatuous statement about looking into his eyes and seeing his soul. Putin almost openly laughs at him.

  • 2. Pain  |  November 18th, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    It is a classic example of the linear and ironic nature of history on Terra. Dubcek came as a progressive in Prague in ’68 and the Soviets said “nyet” and now Bhutto comes as a “progressive” to Lahore in ’07 and the USA says NO. Out of hand the US State Department fears that Bhutto is too weak to keep nuclear weapons undercontrol for very long. Eventually the allure of the Treasury will become too great for her cabinet ministers in the eyes of the Pakistani Army and a new Perveiz Musharraf will come with the blessing of George W Bush.

    We, Ourselves, understand that if people have a voice to speak that many will look backward through the clear lens of hindsight and ask the question, “Who lost Pakistan?” We trust you already see as clearly as We, Ourselves do what the answer to that question is. A better question would be, “Is the cost of KEEPING Pakistan worth the cost in blood and treasure to Pakistanis for that resounding answer to be valid?”

    While the US Constitution is not a suicide pact the need for other government to determine their own course politically, militarily and economically unfiortunately is.

    Qu’ul cuda praedex nihil!

  • 3. Eli  |  November 18th, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    As long as Pakistan doesn’t turn into a Taliban state like pre-9/11 Afghanistan, they can have whatever government they want. I just don’t want their nukes in the hands of people crazy enough to use them (or provide to others who will use them).

    I think that’s a reasonable objective, but I’m not sure if it’s a realistic one.

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