Monday, August 18, 2008

And Now: The Deluge

As leaders of Third World despotisms go, Pervez Musharraf was not that bad. Compared with, say, Hugo Chavez, he is a statesman and a paragon of democracy. His decision to depart voluntarily rather than wait for a bullet or a bomb to end his rule puts him more in the mold of Pinochet than Stalin.

Here’s the report from The Washington Post:

Musharraf Resigns as President of Pakistan

Gen. Pervez MusharrafBowing to pressure from Pakistan’s newly-elected civilian government, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, once a top U.S. ally, said Monday that he will resign from office immediately, ending nearly nine years of largely military rule under his leadership.

Musharraf announced his decision to step down in a nationally televised address 10 days after leaders of Pakistan’s two ruling coalition parties called for his impeachment. Demand for his resignation became increasingly vocal last week after Pakistan’s four provincial assemblies voted overwhelmingly for his ouster.

In the nearly hour-long address, Musharraf struck a defiant and emotional tone, saying that his political opponents had opted for the politics of confrontation over reconciliation. But he said he is stepping down in the interest of maintaining stability in the country.

“I am leaving with the satisfaction that whatever I could do for this country I did it with integrity,” Musharraf said. “I am a human, too. I could have made mistakes, but I believe that the people will forgive me.”

He also added: “I publicly announced my support of the government and to the prime minister. I told them I am ready to offer my experience. But unfortunately the coalition took me for a problem, not a solution.”

Actually, the rumor is that the USA and its allies negotiated with the new government to save Gen. Musharraf’s skin and get him out of the country in one piece, in return for his “voluntary” resignation.

Musharraf’s resignation Monday signaled the end of a long and important relationship with the United States. Musharraf was one of the first Muslim leaders to declare allegiance to Washington after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

If I recall correctly, Gen. Musharraf “declared allegiance to Washington” after Colin Powell paid him a visit and made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse. Informed sources at the time said that the General was offered the choice between inviting the United States to use Pakistan as a base of operations against the Taliban, or to have the United States do exactly the same thing without an invitation.

Ever since them he has been walking a tightrope, dancing and jiggling to avoid the bombs and bullets aimed at him by Al Qaeda and his enemies in the ISI, all the while trying to cooperate at least minimally with his American protectors:
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With his support, the United States was allowed to use several military bases in Pakistan, while Pakistani army troops were deployed to pursue Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgents sheltering in the country’s rugged tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan.

In seven years the Pakistani army somehow managed to lose what little control it had in the North West Frontier Province. Events forced the government to make face-saving deals with the tribal areas, granting them local autonomy in return for minimal concessions and meaningless promises.

When Washington turned the screws hard enough, Pakistan contrived to hand over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Aafia Siddiqui, and several other high-level cards in the most-wanted deck. But somehow the Big Two, Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, remain at large.

It was a tremendously risky stance for the leader of one of the world’s most populous and politically divided Muslim nations — one that provoked ire from al-Qaeda leaders in particular. But the alliance earned Pakistan important political dividends and more than $10 billion in U.S. aid, transforming the impoverished country from a political pariah to a regional economic powerhouse.

The “economic powerhouse” depends entirely on American largesse to retain its powerhouse status. Without the ten billion simoleons from Uncle Sugar, Pakistan is a backwater with nukes. Its principal exports are teenage brides and terrorists. If the nukes and the experts that support them could ever be extracted from the country, Pakistan’s economic and strategic significance would be on a par with Yemen’s.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pledged Monday that the United States will continue efforts to help Pakistan fight terrorism and improve its economy.

“We will continue to work with the Pakistani government and political leaders and urge them to redouble their focus on Pakistan’s future and its most urgent needs, including stemming the growth of extremism, addressing food and energy shortages and improving economic stability,” she said in a statement.

The United States has done a lot of “urging” for the past seven years with precious little to show for it. I’d like to think that some not-quite-so-polite forms of urging are going on behind the scenes, but — given the incompetence of the current administration — I have my doubts.

It may be that we have cut Gen. Musharraf loose due to his increasing inability to affect the course of events in Pakistan:

Signs appeared this spring that the strength of Musharraf’s alliance with the United States was on the wane. U.S. officials expressed increasing frustration with Pakistan’s faltering efforts to blunt the threat from Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgents inside Pakistan. As progress stalled on the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, now in its seventh year, U.S. officials became more vocal about their suspicions that intelligence agencies under Musharraf’s regime had been complicit in supporting a resurgent Taliban. Last month, top CIA officials confronted the Pakistani government with evidence that Pakistani intelligence agents had assisted in a suicide bombing attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul.

Last week, the White House and State Department appeared to distance themselves from the Pakistani president, saying his impeachment was an internal matter for the coalition government to decide. On Sunday, Rice said the United States has no plans to offer Musharraf asylum.

Read the rest of the Post article for more background on US-Pakistani relations. The key paragraphs are at the end:

[Gen. Musharraf’s] personal relationship with President Bush in many ways defined the state of diplomacy between Pakistan and the United States, said Shuja Nawaz, a Washington-based Pakistani defense analyst. The two men seemed to share a similar belief in a strong presidency and penchant for bold action, characteristics that sometimes fueled heavy criticism at home and abroad.

“The Bush-Musharraf relationship really was key to the whole history of Pakistan over the last eight or nine years,” Nawaz said. “It was very personalized diplomacy and it was buttressed by a hefty dose of backing from Vice President Cheney’s office. It created an over-reliance on one personality rather than a system.”

So the twilight of the Bush administration has its parallel in Pakistan. After Musharraf — what?

Some commentators consider this a “victory for democracy in Pakistan”, but I don’t agree. Recent events have shown that the advent of “democracy” in Muslim hellholes like Pakistan thrusts the theocrats and the mujahideen into power. When that happens, Pakistan, unlike Iraq, will have no American troops present to keep events on the ground from getting out of control.

I hope that the brain trusters in the Pentagon are dusting off their contingency plans for rescuing those nukes.

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I have a tendency to look at the situation in Pakistan through the lens of a Western perspective, but it’s important to remember that the country with the greatest stake in post-Musharraf Pakistan is right next door. Al Qaeda and its friends in Pakistan are the sworn enemies of approximately 920 million Hindus who live in India, so India has every reason to be watching events in Islamabad very closely.

According to The Hindustan Times:

In the backdrop of persisting reports over the last few days that the US, Britain and Saudi Arabia were negotiating with the PPP-led government for Musharraf’s “safe exit”, speculation continued that he may leave the country to live in Jeddah or in Turkey but there was no confirmation from his side or from the ruling coalition.

Twice during his reign, Musharraf brought Pakistan to the brink of a war with India, the first when he organised the invasion of Kargil and after the Pakistan-supported attack on Indian Parliament in 2001. But he also cooperated in ensuring relative peace along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir during the last five years.

Yet, he made no mention of India or Jammu and Kashmir during his farewell address. Ironically, the separatists in Kashmir welcomed his political demise.

So this is a “victory for democracy”, yet Islamic terrorists in Kashmir are celebrating the departure of General Musharraf. Do they know something that the rest of us don’t?

The Hindu has a different take on the situation. It seems to share the standard State Department view of things, namely that stability is the most important issue. And who knows? If I were an Indian, I might be in complete agreement:

‘Musharraf’s exit will have no impact on Indo-Pak ties’

New Delhi (PTI): The resignation of Pervez Musharraf as Pakistan President will have no impact on the bilateral peace process as it has moved “beyond the establishments”, former National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra said here on Monday.

Mishra said India should welcome Musharraf’s exit as he had taken the step to avoid instability in Pakistan.

“The peace process has moved beyond the establishment and Musharraf’s exit will not have an impact,” said Mishra, NSA in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government which initiated the Composite Dialogue process with Pakistan.

“We should welcome the fact that Musharraf has resigned in order not to create instability in Pakistan. The impeachment process against him would have led to instability,” he said.

Mishra said the move augurs well for Pakistan as Musharraf had accepted the verdict of the people of Pakistan who had made their disenchantment with him known in the February elections.

Mishra said the democratic forces should work together to strengthen the peace initiatives with India.

“The two main political parties must not fight amongst themselves for individual interests but work for the good of Pakistan,” he said.

In an apparent reference to the US, Mishra said those countries which had given aid to Pakistan under the Musharraf regime must now support the democratic forces.

“These countries should also respect the verdict of the people of Pakistan. It is a good opportunity for them to play an important role,” Mishra said.

Whether the verdict of the people of Pakistan has actually been heard is questionable. In any case, I still find it hard to believe that “democratic forces” will ever be ascendant in Pakistan — unless Kalashnikovs and sharia constitute the essence of Pakistani democracy.

So two new administrations are about to begin, one with “the Islamic bomb”, and the other with “hope” and “change”.

What will happen after next January 20th?

The Deluge?

17 comments:

Fjordman said...

Pinochet was an evil, evil man supported by evil, evil capitalists. I know, because Naomi Klein told me so.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Its principal exports are teenage brides and terrorists.

I think we forgot the heroin :(

When Washington turned the screws hard enough.

This approach to foreign policy is going to backfire.

My best hope:

That Pakistan falls apart, into the violent, drugdealing mountain areas and the fertile lowlands. Then they can start *trading* internally, to the extent they don't just kill each other.

My prognosis: Chaos...

NJArtist said...

The Deluge. No. The Fire Next Time.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Oh. I knew there was something unusual about that title. It has a connection to France.

Zenster said...

Recent events have shown that the advent of “democracy” in Muslim hellholes like Pakistan thrusts the theocrats and the mujahideen into power.

Think "Hamas" but with nuclear weapons added.

I hope that the brain trusters in the Pentagon are dusting off their contingency plans for rescuing those nukes.

This is the real wildcard. Musharraf's departure literally guarantees even greater turmoil and instability in what is already a veritable pisspot of typical Islamic incompetence.

Twice during his reign, Musharraf brought Pakistan to the brink of a war with India, the first when he organised the invasion of Kargil and after the Pakistan-supported attack on Indian Parliament in 2001.

It was to America's deep and abiding shame that mere months after the 9-11 atrocity little, if any, significant outcry was made over the Indian Parliament attack.

Had such a blatant assault occurred upon American soil the outcome may well have entailed a nuclear launch. Instead, India—much like Israel—was expected to continue demonstrating saintly restraint in the face of unbearable Islamic provocation.

What needs to be remembered is that—while there is a degree of parity with respect to the size of each country's nuclear arsenal—India's larger land mass could absorb the full brunt of a Pakistani nuclear barrage while much smaller Pakistan would simply cease to exist after any counter-attack.

This is yet another prime example of how Islam continually overplays its hand. Rather than constantly antagonizing India, Pakistan should be walking on eggs for fear of angering its neighbor. Typical of Islam's obsessive death cult, instead the converse holds true and Pakistan belligerantly blusters even as the Sword of Damocles is poised above them.

With Musharraf's exit, the confiscation of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal should be America's primary objective. No, repeat NO Islamic nation ever should be allowed to possess atomic weapons.

Typically immune to even overwhelming irony, Muslims ignore the simple fact that Islamic nuclear weapons pose the greatest danger of all to the MME (Muslim Middle East). As Wretchard noted in his superb analysis, "The Three Conjectures":

Even if Islam killed every non-Muslim on earth they would almost certainly continue to kill each other with their new-found weaponry. Revenge bombings between rival groups and wars between different Islamic factions are the recurring theme of history. Long before 3,000 New Yorkers died on September 11, Iraq and Iran killed 500,000 Muslims between them. The greatest threat to Muslims is radical Islam; and the greatest threat of all is a radical Islam armed with weapons of mass destruction. [emphasis added]

Afonso Henriques said...

Fjordman,

I don't know if you were kidding or not but I think Pinochet was actually not that bad. Yes, he was dictator, way worse than uncle Salazar or een Fraco. While the French only order people to be beaten or sent to concentration camps in Cape Verde, Pinochet tortured, killed and bear real bad people. And hi tortures were strong tortures, and involved women, and were butt tortures also but...
Thanks to him Communism did not penetrated Chile. Thanks to him Chile still seems to be a Civilised Country instead of Bolivia or Paraguay for instance...

---------------------------------

Zenster, I think you're wrong on your Paki-Hindu analysis. If we count Indian muslims plus Bangladesh, we got two non-muslims for every muslim. And also, Pakistan is a very big country... I think India is the vulnerable point here - not to mention its potential muslim population, the dalits - because Pakistan does not cares about its State. Pakistan, the land of the pure, is pure is Islam. If Dar-al-Islam wins, it's good for Pakistan.

Pakistan is an anti-Nation State. It is the Islamic Empire of the Western Indian Sub Continent.

--------------------------------

This situation is bad for the West. Musharraf seemed to be an honoured man. We can expect much, much worse to replace him. And I am almost sure Saudi Arabia is nuclear already thanks too Pakistan.

Travis B said...

The real danger is what happens to the 30-60 nuclear weapons in the Pakistani arsenal. Most are stored at Sargodha and Kamra I believe. Will the Americans with, or without Indian assistance attempt to neutralize them if a radical regime looks to take power? I have my doubts.

A secondary question is what happens in Afghanistan regarding NATO efforts and supply lines. With US-Russian relations taking a nose dive NATO will be hard pressed to find safe airbases and in-flight routes to Kabul. We may see the fall of Karzai if the western troops are withdrawn and the Taliban-Pathans resurgent. Good times ahead!

Robin Shadowes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baron Bodissey said...

Robin --

I'm getting tired of deleting your obscenities.

Gates of Vienna's rules about comments require that they be civil, temperate, on-topic, and show decorum. Your comment (and the previous ones) violated the last of these rules. We keep a PG-13 blog, and exclude foul language, explicit descriptions, and epithets. This is why I deleted your comment.

Use of asterisks is an appropriate alternative.

Henrik R Clausen said...

Afonso, Fjordmans' reference to Naomi Klein is a sure sign that he's kidding :)

I think the best that could happen now would be a breakup of Pakistan along ethnic lines. Then ethnicity, not religion (and we know that one..) would be the uniting factor for each of these countries, which would lessen the danger they pose.

CzC said...

This will surely leave a hole of power that will be filled by theocrats. Democracy may not be best in all cases.

Like they said recently in South Africa: The Rugby team is voted for by proffesionals the government however is not.

Diamed said...

At this point I'm hoping muslims nuke the west so that more people wake up. Nothing else seems to have gotten us out of our suicidal torpor, so, maybe this will. It will also justify the harsh measures that must be taken against muslims in the future. If the status quo is certain doom, any amount of chaos injected into the system can only be a good thing.

Just remember, a nuke will kill a million people, but immigration will kill 500 million people and all hope of a future forever. Nukes are meaningless compared to what muslims and their treacherous allies are doing to us right now as we speak.

randian said...

That Indian authorities take the politically correct state department view doesn't surprise me, considering how solicitous of Muslims Hindu authorities are, no doubt residue of the Islamic occupation. Some have even argued Muslims should have priority for national resources.

babs said...

Pakistan's literacy rate is appalingly low. I saw the stats a few months ago and I seem to recall that the majority of the population cannot read (could be wrong on that but I don't think so.)
The point being that it is almost impossible to set up a modern western style democracy in an illiterate population.

Zenster said...

Afonso Henriques: I think you're wrong on your Paki-Hindu analysis. If we count Indian muslims plus Bangladesh, we['ve] got two non-muslims for every muslim. And also, Pakistan is a very big country... I think India is the vulnerable point here

Allow me to confuse you with some facts. Here is a list of Pakistani cities with a population of over one million people:

Pakistan — 796,096 sq miles

1 Karachi — 12 461 423
2 Lahore — 6 747 238
3 Faisalabad — 2 708 944
4 Rawalpindi — 1 877 580
5 Multan — 1 528 075
6 Hyderabad — 1 496 163
7 Gujranwala — 1 484 172
8 Peshawar — 1 344 967

Now, here is a list of Indian cities with a population of over one million people:

India — 1,147,949 sq miles

1 Mumbai — 13 662 885
2 Delhi — 11 954 217
3 Bangalore — 5 180 533
4 Kolkata — 5 021 458
5 Chennai — 4 562 843
6 Hyderabad — 3 980 938
7 Ahmedabad — 3 867 336
8 Pune — 3 230 322
9 Surat — 3 124 249
10 Kanpur — 3 067 663
11 Jaipur — 2 997 114
12 Lucknow — 2 621 063
13 Nagpur — 2 359 331
14 Indore — 1 768 303
15 Patna — 1 753 543
16 Bhopal — 1 712 355
17 Thane — 1 673 465
18 Ludhiana — 1 662 325
19 Agra — 1 590 073
20 Vadodara — 1 487 956
21 Pimpri Chinchwad — 1 471 494
22 Nashik — 1 459 589
23 Faridabad — 1 407 265
24 Ghaziabad — 1 371 673
25 Rajkot — 1 335 397
26 Meerut — 1 325 929
27 Kalyan-Dombivli — 1 312 595
28 Varanasi — 1 188 704
29 Amritsar — 1 165 066
30 Aurangabad — 1 127 755
31 Navi Mumbai — 1 110 110
32 Allahabad — 1 107 072
33 Solapur — 1 094 553
34 Jabalpur — 1 050 875
35 Visakhapatnam — 1 050 380
36 Srinagar — 1 040 263
37 Howrah — 1 033 158
38 Ranchi — 1 021 628
39 Chandigarh — 1 003 301

Pakistan is almost half the size of India and has a higher percentage of its population concentrated in a very few cities.

Even if Pakistan's MRBMs (Medium Range Ballistic Missiles) all reached their targets and detonated correctly, there would still be a huge surviving population in India. A huge and very angry surviving population. India's remaining Muslims would probably not live to see day's end.

The same cannot be said for Pakistan. India probably has almost TEN nuclear bombs (or more)per major population center in Pakistan. That excess could be more evenly distributed over Pakistan's comparatively smaller land mass and be used to kill almost every single living Pakistani.

In no way could Pakistan guarantee a similar outcome for India. Bangladesh doesn't even enter the equation. Neither do they have nuclear weapons nor can they keep themselves from starving long enough to field any sort of military. None of this even addresses the need for Pakistan to target military facilities instead of civilian centers.

Diamed: At this point I'm hoping muslims nuke the west so that more people wake up.

That is not only utterly obscene but it also reveals your intellectual laziness in wanting such a lethally simple solution. You are essentially advocating genocide, both here in America and in the MME (Muslim Middle East).

Diamed said...

No, I'm saying immigration into the west right now is the real genocide, whereas losing a million to a nuke is not, because it does not wholly wipe out a population. A nuke is a 'weapon of mass destruction' not a genocide. Immigration is a genocide because it utterly wipes out the native population. I would trade, in an instant, one city getting obliterated for the end of immigration. Anyone else who cares about the West would too. And since nothing else is stopping immigration, maybe a nuke will. Who knows? What I do know is we have twenty years left to stop immigration or entire continents will be lost forever. Not being willing to lose even a single city is just not realizing the size of the dilemma.

Nor would getting nuked require we glass the middle east. No, I'd be quite content with deporting the foreigners and closing off the borders. That's all I want and maybe getting nuked would make us more willing to do that. So I'm not calling for the genocide of anyone. My only worry would be if getting nuked didn't change anyone's opinions about immigration, that would be a waste. But with 20 years left, any injection of chaos is better than the status quo.

Zenster said...

Diamed: I would trade, in an instant, one city getting obliterated for the end of immigration. Anyone else who cares about the West would too.

I care deeply about the West but I'll be triple damned in Hell if there's any way I could justify a nuclear attack upon an American city. Your premise smacks of "We needed the 9-11 atrocity as a wakeup call".

And since nothing else is stopping immigration, maybe a nuke will.

Have you even considered the economic impact of just one single nuclear terrorist attack? The 9-11 atrocity easily cost America ONE TRILLION dollars, probably far more. What sort of economic damage do you think a nuclear attack would do to our nation? The upshot would most likely be a recession that would set this nation's whole financial base back an entire DECADE.

What I do know is we have twenty years left to stop immigration or entire continents will be lost forever. Not being willing to lose even a single city is just not realizing the size of the dilemma.

I suggest that you get off of your sloth intellectual arse and set about changing people's minds with honest and logical argument instead of demeaning this board's worthy efforts with such ill-reasoned speculation.

Change can be brought about without massive loss of life in the Western hemisphere. Whether change can be brought about soon enough and in a significant measure without massive loss of life in the MME (Muslim Middle East) is another matter entirely.