I recently read an interview with “President” Pervez Musharraf. One of the first things that jumped out at me was that he really doesn’t give a damn whether you believe a word he says. He doesn’t have to. That’s what it means to be a dictator.
It has galled me from the beginning that the US is in bed with this pile of smoking shit. I have good memories of the bad old days when the US government propped up banana republic dictators in order to make the world safe for United Fruit Company. Most of the opposition to those guys were some flavor of socialist or communist. It was a cold war thing. We couldn’t have a communist ruling a nearby country. It was much better to have a cold blooded mass murder in charge. At least he would be a capitalist and that’s all that’s important. He wouldn’t be doing any evil atheist stuff like asking for fair wages for fruit pickers.
So here we are 40, 50 years later and we are sucking up to a new dictator. It bugs me.
I think one of the things that bugs me the most is that I understand it. Musharraf took over an elected government by way of a coup, that is true. But the elected government was so corrupt and inefficient that military dictatorship was a step up. Except for the fact that he immediately began granting rights instead of protecting them. Anything you are granted can be denied tomorrow. Tomorrow has come and he is cracking down. In true good news/bad news fasion, he is holding the line against Afghan Islamists. If Pakistan elected a government right now it would be Taliban-like and very hostile to the US–and they will have nukes.
Here is a map of the middle east including Pakistan:
Notice how Pakistan snuggles up against Afghanistan. It even shares some of its border with Iran. The ugly truth is, we need to land our planes in Pakistan. Most of Afghanistan is as welcoming and friendly as the face of the moon. So we suck up to a creep like Musharraf. It’s a stone cold reality that the safety and interests of the US are more important than the freedom of Pakistan. I think the middle east is a dangerous place. It’s not dangerous to us personally at the moment (other than BushCo sending our best and brightest to be killed there), but this isn’t the only moment there is.
With the Russians and their nukes we could sort of count on them not wanting mutually assured destruction. With Islamic fanatics, we can’t be sure of that. I hate the idea of kissing the ass of a brutal dictator. But this time there’s a bit more at stake than a few cheap bananas.