Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bush lectures Musharraf

So now Dubya, after several days of shilly-shallying, has told Pakistani President Musharraf he has to take his uniform off and hold elecetions close to when they are scheduled, in January. Maybe that will happen. Having sent more than $10 billion to Pakistan and created a certain dependency, Bush has at least a little hammer. But bending to the U.S. won't help Musharraf's popularity in Pakistan; he might look better to at least some Pakistanis if he defies Bush. That's why Bush's leverage is not all that great unless he's ready to stop the dole. It could well be that other factors (including resistance that has made the country less stable, not more) will militate an end to quasi-martial law before too long, however, no matter what Bush says.

By the way, Bush's defense of his treating Pakistan and Burma differently -- Pakistan is already on the road to democracy -- is incredibly lame. Why not just be more or less honest and say America's interests in the two countries differ, especially because Pakistan has nukes? Or is honesty an option only when everything else has been tried and come a cropper?

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