Well, it took them a few tries, but the despicable viruses which infect Southwest Asia have killed Benazir Bhutto. The aftermath already looks ugly…Nawaz Sharif has already announced that his party will boycott the scheduled January 8 election. The general population has erupted into fiery riots. And there will almost certainly be links uncovered in the coming days and weeks between the assassination plot and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence; if not the ISI directly, then one of the other numerous paramilitary entities within Pakistan corrupted by Islamofascists and their sympathizers.
About two weeks ago, of course, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf lifted his state of emergency decree; already there has been a bloody political catastrophe. He now has a pretext with which to say, effectively, “See? I told you martial law was the only thing keeping this country from chaos.” All this will make for a dicey relationship with the American government – we need Pakistan in the war on terror, but how long can you maintain close ties, including billions of dollars in aid, with a government so characterized by murder and skullduggery before doing so becomes untenable?
The Bhutto assassination only underscores the highly volatile state of international politics today. Not long ago, the media was reporting that December 2007 is shaping up to be the safest month for U.S. armed forces in Iraq in 3 years in terms of the casualty rate. Just days ago, the story was that Baghdad residents are freely leaving their homes to perform that universal act of normalcy – shop. And now, on a dime, what was a guardedly optimistic picture of the Middle East has been blotted out entirely by the conflagration in Pakistan. Is it just me, or is the planet just a collection of powder kegs waiting to blow at any given time? Once we get Pakistan sorted out, that ought to be Algeria’s cue.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not ask a wannabe right-wing nutbag whose primary experience with Pakistanis is a cab driver crackdown to handle a complicated, nuanced situation like this. Nor do I want to trust a duplicituous carpetbagger who touts a White House résumé on which a security clearance and attendance at National Security Council meetings are glaringly absent.
No, I think I’d feel better electing a guy who presently holds the position of Chairman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and who actually talks to Musharraf directly on the goddamn telephone when the other candidates talk at him through press releases and stump speeches that the Pakistani president doesn’t even listen to. A guy who has actually been in the room, leading the process, while binding government policy is crafted when the other candidates are just putting bullet points together with their “teams” and floating said bullet points by two dozen people in a New Hampshire coffee shop. Yeah…if only there was a candidate like that…