Well, whoever it is in the US Administration who’s in charge of Foreign Policy has been pushing for it for months. If not longer. Now, their machinations have produced a result. Only not quite the one they wanted. Well, they do fall for the sob stories of exiled dissidents bearing grudges and looking for revenge, so what can you expect?
Why is it that successive US administrations insist on listening to, and subsequently acting upon, the weasel words of these exiles? These people will often say anything to get revenge, do anything to return to power, and are adept at saying exactly what the US administration wants someone to say, even if it is a bunch of carefully crafted lies. No, I’m not talking about Iraq, or Cuba, where they have made the same mistake, but Pakistan.
The administration seems to care little about the real situation in the lands they meddle in, so long as “democracy” can be introduced. Except of course when the people vote for or support the “wrong” party. So you have democratically elected Hamas in Gaza cast as the devil in disguise, whereas the oil-rich Saudi regime that is based on feudalistic Royal Patronage and the granting of “favours” is given military aid and support. Remember, Al Qaeda began in Saudi, and most of the 911 bombers were Saudis, complaining about domestic politics over which they had no control.
In Iraq the US listened to Ahmed Chalabi and his friends who told them a bunch of lies about there being weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, just so they could dip their fingers in the Iraqi honeypot and into America’s vast pockets, just to serve their own selfish needs. This diversion of attention onto Iraq took the heat off Al Qaeda, allowing them to regroup in Afghanistan and move into Pakistan, thus complicating an already difficult situation.
It’s clear that someone high up in the Administration lost their patience, and looked around for somewhere they thought they could turn into a swift PR victory, a country they believed that would be easy to defeat and which would praise Americans as “liberators” thereafter, giving George W. some great front page headlines, along the lines of his Aircraft Carrier Press Conference claiming the fight in Iraq was over. How many US servicemen and women have died there since?
Over Cuba, dissident exiles now living in Florida have for years told stories about how the regime in Havana is the devil’s spawn. So it was that the Cuban exiles told the US that if it supported an invasion, the local Cubans would rise up in sympathy and overthrow the “wicked regime”. So they initiated the Bay of Pigs Invasion which was routed without any real support from the locals who were forced into the Soviet camp due to the US cold shoulder.
The latest adventures have been in Pakistan. The exiles spinning the yarns were Benazir Bhutto and her friends who, after escaping Pakistan to avoid charges of tax fraud, badmouthed the only honest political leader Pakistan has had for years, Gen. Musharraf, so much and so frequently that eventually the US pushed him too hard, despite him being a staunch supporter of the West. Meanwhile, they support India wholeheartedly, despite the party in charge there today being the one that so welded India to the Soviets.
A couple of years ago, I saw an interview on BBC with Gen Musharraf’s mother. She was a nice woman, anyone would like her, and she certainly said enough to convince me that Musharraf was worthy of support. I have seen many interviews since with the General himself, and he has never said or done anything that leads me to believe he is anything other than an honest and good leader.
The problem has been that fighting the Taleban and their supporters in Beluchistan who were escapees from Afghanistan, not a priority while the US chased red herrings in Iraq, has been rather difficult. But Musharraf was getting on top of things. Just not quickly enough for the notoriously impatient George W and so Bhutto found her support. “Musharaff is doing it all wrong” she would say, and “We will do a better job.” Well, a better job of lining their pockets, maybe.
Musharraf told everyone that if Bhutto came back to Pakistan, there would be more trouble from the Islamist extremists. He was right. She was assasinated. Musharraf also said there would be peaceful elections, that they would be free and fair, and there have been. But only after he got rid of some troublemakers first – some corrupt judges who opposed progress.
Of course, Nawaz Sharif was claiming before the elections, as opposition politicians in Kenya complained, that the polls were rigged, just so that if they lost they could claim grounds for more troublemaking. After all, isn’t that the kind of thing previous Governments in Pakistan did? If you were in power there, you rigged elections to stay there. If you didn’t like being beaten, you held a coup. Both ways, corruption and the elite thrived at the expense of freedom and justice. In the end, the election result gave Mrs Bhutto’s party 86 seats, Mr Sharif’s 56, and Gen. Musharraf’s 25.
This is the first time in Pakistan’s 60 year history that the incumbent party in power has been voted out peacefully. This is the first time that democracy in Pakistan has worked as democracy is expected to. And Gen. Musharraf is the man who brought this about, not Benazir Bhutto who was murdered by extremists, nor Nawaz Sharif who refers to his people as “the masses” which doesn’t bode very well if you ask me.
Now, the larger two parties are combining to form a coalition – between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and the Pakistan Muslim League. Ironically, American pressure in support of Bhutto has resulted in the bringing to power of yet another Islamist party in a country with nuclear weapons and on the front line with the war against the Taleban in Afghanistan, and with bases actually in Pakistan that Musharraf had slowly been destroying, hence his lack of current popularity in some circles.
That’s another fine mess you’ve got us into, George. Can anyone guess who’s going to go down in history as the most disastrous American President ever?