Thursday, December 27, 2007
The obvious answer is not that this helps Republicans, or that it helps Rudy! or that it helps Hillary.
No, the one whose fortunes rise (at least in the immediate context) is Musharraf and surprisingly, possibly his butt-boy Bush.
Musharraf's opposition party has been decapitated, something that is quite clear to those on the Subcontinent. There is now no credible political opposition to the continuation of the Musharraf autocracy in Pakistan. The People may be rising in rage and outrage, but they lack any viable leadership; most likely, the various riots and insurrections will be put down or sputter out. Musharraf will be able to further consolidate his power, more because of the People's exhaustion and frustration than anything else. There is a chance of civil war in Pakistan, but civil unrest does not necessarily lead to the disintegration of the state.
And the Busheviks are watching it all. Unlike the Bourbons, the Busheviks appear to be trying to learn.
And they are learning that assassination, like propaganda, works.
The Bush Regime, with the full complicity of Congress, has delivered something like $10 billion to the Musharraf regime and its military henchmen, no strings attached, in order to buy their acquiescence to the BushWars. Another lesson: bribes work. For a while.
But it has been clear for some time that President General Pervez has his own notions of cooperation, his own ideas of civilian authority in Pakistan, and his own conception of his personal power. Despite his nearly negative approval rating, he has consolidated his personal power, with plenty of technical assistance and pallets of $100 bills from the United States, and there is no sign at all that he intends to relinquish this power or even significantly reduce it during his lifetime.
Benazir Bhutto was a constant, nagging thorn in his side. What to do?
We see for ourselves. It doesn't even take a visit from Negroponte to focus the mind does it?
However, despite Musharraf's apparent 'victory' for the moment, he would be wise to recall the Marcos example before he gets too comfortable in his civilian office.
While all signs right now point to the likely petering out of rebellion against the Musharraf reign of misrule, these flames may not die out at all. And what would a truly democratic Pakistan look like? Are Americans ready for that?