Monday, November 5, 2007

Supporting Mushaffaf

Pakistan may no longer be a democracy. President Pervez Musharraf has seized complete control - he has taken over the media and the army, and has also rounded up thousands of dissenters. While Mushaffaf stills claims to be aiming for Janurary elections, he left open the possibility of an indefinite delay. In countries like Pakistan, indefinite delays usually are very, very, long. Pakistan, at least for the present, is ruled by a harsh, fascist dictatorship.

The United States has responded to this development in the mildest possible way. Bush has simply requested that Mushaffaf to restore democracy "as soon as possible." Hardly a ringing condemnation. Given the United State's stated commitment to spreading democracy across the globe, isn't it hypocritical and indeed wrong for them to look the other way at Mushaffaf's power grab?

No. We need Pakistan's assistance in the War on Terror. Mushaffaf has a been an ally, if not a very strong one. (It is pretty generally known that Al-Qaeada has training camps in Pakistan). Any other government in Pakistan would almost certainly be a theocratic, fascist, anti-American dictatorship. If Mushaffaf retains power, however, Pakistan will be a theocratic, fascist, pro-American dictatorship. There may not be any good choices here. But half a loaf is better than none.

Is this an application of the "the end justifies the means" theory? No. It is not as if the opposition is the Pakistani version of the Sons of Liberty. We can choose between two dictators in Pakistan. Neither of them are desirable, but we can support the better one.


At November 6, 2007 at 12:10 PM , Blogger Marie's Two Cents said...

We better get ready.

If this situation in Pakistan get's out of control there is NO CHANCE we are going to let Nukes fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda.

At November 7, 2007 at 9:07 AM , Blogger Greg said...

I'm not sure if Pakistan ever was a democracy, at least not under Musharraf who came to power not by election but by military coup.

I'm uncomfortable with your position that we should be in favour of democracy, unless of course it doesn't favour us (in which case we throw our ideals out the window).

The situation in Pakistan is a difficult one to comment on. Obviously, we can't allow extremists of any sort to gain control of a country that has a nuclear arsenal. On the other hand, how can we expect our claims of bringing democracy to the middle east to be taken seriously if we support dictators in Pakistan (and Saudi Arabia among others)? I confess to not having an answer, and as always we should keep things in perspective - supporting a dictator is a lesser crime than allowing nutjobs to get ahold of a nuke - but I would encourage an honesty about what it is we are doing. Why open ourselves up to accusations of hypocracy (and worse) by lying about what we're doing? I say we be honest and explain the situation for what it is...a no win one.

At November 7, 2007 at 10:34 AM , Blogger Daniel Ruwe said...

Greg, I am in favor of promoting democracy. However, if you choices are between two dictatorships, we should pick the one closer to our interests.

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