“The new Pakistani general, he’s just been elected, not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country and I think that’s good news for the subcontinent”
At the time presidential candidate Bush was widely castigated. Not only could he not name the Pakistani general, he was endorsing the military takeover of a democratic government. What no one could have predicted was that foreign policy would be the key theme of the Bush Presidency, with Musharraf as a key player.
“Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the stone age.”
Musharraf’s claim that Pakistan was threatened after 9/11 is not surprising (for a comment on the exact chain of events click here). A lot of people have suspected that Pakistan was in danger of being bombed alongside Afghanistan and a case for war wouldn’t have been difficult to construct. Links to the Taliban – check. Weapons of Mass Destruction – forget Iran and Iraq, Pakistan’s been nuclear since 1998. Terrorist Training camps in Kashmir – check. Aggresion towards neighbours – The Kargil fiasco was only two years old.
Of course millitary action would have been a catastrophe for all involved. Even so with the Paksitani equivalents of Ahmed Chalabi egging the US on, I suspect the public relations battle in America would have been even easier than it was for Iraq.
Clearly Musharraf was coerced and made the only decision open to him – supporting America. That he can now talk openly about this shows how the balance of power has shifted. The ‘stone age’ in the CBS interview was partly a rebuke against Bush’s assertion that he would have no hesitation in sending US Troops into Pakistan to capture Bin Laden. This may be true, but its hard to see the US managing to apprehend Bin Laden without Pakistani assistance in the first place. In any case the prospect of invading Pakistan now is completely implausible.
Musharraf is now doing the tv rounds as well including an appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Stewart demonstrates yet again that he is not only funny but also more thoughtful and intelligent than most tv anchors.
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Filed in: Current affairs,Pakistan,United States