Monday, September 25, 2006

Pakistan's ailing dictatorship

oD carried this story.

As the bloody insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq grow more and more violent and bloody it seems that few eyes are watching this nuclear power drift steadily further into confusion and instability. The oD article is an unnerving indicator that Pakistan is on the verge of a sudden shift in power structure. The US backing of Pervez Musharraf hamstrung the man's rule from 11th September 2001 onwards. As a result, although the Pakistani military appears to have been superficially aiding Bush's war on common sense the truth of the matter is that support for the Taliban has mushroomed in the anarchic tribal regions that lie between Afghanistan and Pakistan proper. NATO troops in Afghanistan are facing the product of this absurd piece of gunship diplomacy by the US- an revitalised Taliban insurgency and now a pair of countries with grassroots hostility to NATO's mission.

I am deeply concerned that this support for anti-western politics will, 10 years down the line, result in a Talibanesque Pakistan. With nuclear weapons. Just as in Iran and Iraq, the US are throwing guns and technology at the Pakistanis, hoping that this will help their mission but they failed to notice that much of the Pakistani military didn't really want to work against their kinsmen. As the oD article points out:

"Elements within the Pakistan military and intelligence communities have long been known to be sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaida ,and the question has simply been how widely this sympathy was shared within the military government itself."

Once again US foreign policy is built around the premise that you can achieve yuor goals through coercion and outright bribery. This works to great effects within the US administration so it is no surprise that successive administrations attempt to export the practice. The truism quoted in the oD article is horribly apposite.

"for a man in possession of a hammer all problems look like nails"

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