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> Pakistan, What to do about it?
Blackstone
post Mar 4 2006, 05:56 AM
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The current presidential trip to Pakistan has me wondering exactly what to make of that country in the larger context of the War on Terror. It's such a mulitdimensional problem. President Musharraf seems to be mostly on our side, but he's an autocrat and his allegiance towards us doesn't appear to be shared by most of his people. Many have compared the situation to our relationship with the Shah's Iran on the eve of the Islamic Revolution that installed the Ayatollah Khomeini. Musharraf has been (mostly skillfully) maintaining a delicate balancing act, doing what he can to make it seem like he's making a difference in our favor, but not going so far as to push the people into revolt. And in the meantime, the Taliban continue to operate in the Peshawar Valley along the border with Afghanistan, and getting them out of there can at times seem like one step forward, two steps back.

So I'm interested to see what everyone's thoughts are on this.

1. Is Pakistan, right now, a net asset or a net hindrance to us in the War on Terror?

2. There's talk of democratizing Pakistan. Would that be helpful or harmful to our long-term goals in the fight against al-Qaeda and terrorism in general, especially given our experience with democracy in other parts of the Muslim world, most recently in the Palestinian areas?

3. How should we deal with Pakistan in general? Should we push harder for better results, with the risk that that might push the country over the edge? Should we let up on the pressure? Or is there some other approach altogether that should be taken?
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TruthMarch
post Mar 4 2006, 06:27 AM
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QUOTE
1. Is Pakistan, right now, a net asset or a net hindrance to us in the War on Terror?

Quick response: At the present time, they are an asset in the US-led "war on terror".
Expanded response with an ironic twist: This is the crux of the matter here and now. Back in the early 80's, when, despite logic and total evidence to the contrary, the US took Iraq off the 'terror-friendly' watchlist, people may have been asking almost the same question, but with the ironic twist: "Is Iraq, right now, a net asset or net hindrance to us in the "war on Iran's" Ayatollah"?
<-----That, we now know, led to the US supporting Iraq through their (maybe fabled) chemical attack on Halabja and thereafter, including all the supposed crimes Hussein committed i.e. the reasons the US use to have ousted such a 'hiddeous' regime. It's laughable when one realizes that we're not even talking about a generation gap here with this knowledge. It's not like it's ancient history when things can be muddled. These are things that happened in our recent past so the way the Planners are able to maintain such a tight grip on their subjects is worthy of my utmost praise. It may sound like fallacy, but even Stalin and Goebbels would admire the idea that both sides of the world-stage spectrum could be played out within such a short time. Imagine some German leader in the early 1960's lulling the German people into forgetting their recent past. And I'm speaking in corelation to the thought of a 1960's Germany speaking with moral and righteous indignation at another nation's abuse of whoever wherever whenever. You can see what I'm saying right? It's a fantastic idea but I would bet that even they would never have thought it possible. But then, Nazi Germany didn't have the mind-knumbing-spirit-crushing garbage-trash shock television that's on the airwaves these days. WWF and Oprah. Mind knumbing!
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VDemosthenes
post Mar 4 2006, 09:25 PM
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QUOTE(Blackstone @ Mar 4 2006, 12:56 AM)
1. Is Pakistan, right now, a net asset or a net hindrance to us in the War on Terror?

2. There's talk of democratizing Pakistan. Would that be helpful or harmful to our long-term goals in the fight against al-Qaeda and terrorism in general, especially given our experience with democracy in other parts of the Muslim world, most recently in the Palestinian areas?

3. How should we deal with Pakistan in general?  Should we push harder for better results, with the risk that that might push the country over the edge?  Should we let up on the pressure?  Or is there some other approach altogether that should be taken?

*



1.) At this particular moment, no. I feel Pakistan is more or less a random insertion into my evening news headlines. However, when I gaze a few years down the road in my crystal ball: Pakistan will play an important role in a possible and nearly foreseeable tiff with Iran.

2.) Democracy never hurts but in the case of Pakistani-Democracy: I think it will be ineffective. If the people are given a voice, they will take advantage of their new freedom and do what they see fit with or without our aid or support. I may be naive, but Pakistan is going to be Pakistan and unless there is some huge fall-out in the Middle-east (more so than is currently taking place) I do not think this shall present a major issue.

3.) I think we need to increase pressure. It's finally a chance to test some American's theory that if we had done the same with similar situations under the old Iraq that Hussein would have bowed to pressure. So, I fully support increasing the amount of international coaxing and hope that it will serve to avenge or prove wrong those who think it will have a positive outcome.



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Cookie Parker
post Mar 5 2006, 12:35 AM
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1. Is Pakistan, right now, a net asset or a net hindrance to us in the War on Terror?


With regard to the war on terror, I be Musharaff is an ally. While not happy with the Taliban in his country, Wikipedia reports he is convinced he can join the Islamic religion into the western culture in a positive way. IN addition, the bombing of innocent villagers by the Bush administration recently did not send Pakistan over the top toward us. It very well could have. I believe Musharaff is an ally.

QUOTE
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musharaff


Although he came to power under a bloodless coup de tat, I think he has been good for the country. His family was middle class and he leans toward a liberal view of freedoms for his nation.


2. There's talk of democratizing Pakistan. Would that be helpful or harmful to our long-term goals in the fight against al-Qaeda and terrorism in general, especially given our experience with democracy in other parts of the Muslim world, most recently in the Palestinian areas?

Not sure where you get this information. As near as I can tell from Wikipedia, this man is considered liberal. I'd like to see where you get a better picture of his policies. Wikipedia did not have much. It is reported that he has ties with the US in that his brother and his son live here.

Musharaff is pushing for more of a secular government and does not promote nor condone the extreme Islamic practices of the Taliban.

3. How should we deal with Pakistan in general? Should we push harder for better results, with the risk that that might push the country over the edge? Should we let up on the pressure? Or is there some other approach altogether that should be taken?

I think we have not business putting our business anywhere near Pakistan. After all, we've bombed them unprovoked and not informing Musharaff we were going to do it. We managed to kill children and innocent villagers. I think it's best if this Administration not go into anymore "policies" on Muslim states. wink.gif
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Blackstone
post Mar 5 2006, 05:19 AM
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QUOTE(TruthMarch @ Mar 4 2006, 01:27 AM)
Back in the early 80's, when, despite logic and total evidence to the contrary, the US took Iraq off the 'terror-friendly' watchlist, people may have been asking almost the same question, but with the ironic twist: "Is Iraq, right now, a net asset or net hindrance to us in the "war on Iran's" Ayatollah"?

Except that whatever one might have said about Saddam Hussein, there was no question that he was an enemy of the Ayatollah, and even though a decided majority of his people (the Shi'ites) didn't share that enmity, they had no effective political voice. This is where the analogy breaks down when it comes to Pakistan, because the majority of Pakistanis do not appear to have a particularly huge beef with al-Qaeda, and even though Pakistan isn't a democracy, it also doesn't have the same iron grip on public action that Saddam had. Therefore, the government still has to accomodate, or at least appear to accomodate, the views of the people.

QUOTE
Imagine some German leader in the early 1960's lulling the German people into forgetting their recent past. And I'm speaking in corelation to the thought of  a 1960's Germany speaking with moral and righteous indignation at another nation's abuse of whoever wherever whenever. You can see what I'm saying right?
*

I don't know if I do. Are you saying that Germany in the 1960s would have had no moral right to condemn other countries for their abuses of human rights, because of Germany's Nazi past? If so, I'd disagree strongly. Having been complicit in atrocities in the past does not obligate a country to remain silent in the face of present-day atrocities committed elsewhere. To do so only deepens the crime.

QUOTE(VDemosthenes @ Mar 4 2006, 04:25 PM)
3.) I think we need to increase pressure. It's finally a chance to test some American's theory that if we had done the same with similar situations under the old Iraq that Hussein would have bowed to pressure. So, I fully support increasing the amount of international coaxing and hope that it will serve to avenge or prove wrong those who think it will have a positive outcome.
*

Do you think there's any substantial likelihood that doing so would radicalize the country? It's a different situation with Iraq and Hussein, because as I stated above, Hussein had such complete control over his country that there was little danger of Iraq getting any more radicalized than it already was. But Pakistan seems like a different case.

QUOTE(Cookie Parker @ Mar 4 2006, 07:35 PM)
2. There's talk of democratizing Pakistan. Would that be helpful or harmful to our long-term goals in the fight against al-Qaeda and terrorism in general, especially given our experience with democracy in other parts of the Muslim world, most recently in the Palestinian areas?

Not sure where you get this information.  As near as I can tell from Wikipedia, this man is considered liberal.  I'd like to see where you get a better picture of his policies.  Wikipedia did not have much.  It is reported that he has ties with the US in that his brother and his son live here.

Musharaff is pushing for more of a secular government and does not promote nor condone the extreme Islamic practices of the Taliban.
*

I think you misunderstood me. I agree that he's a secularist and a non-extremist. But he's also not democratically elected, and democracy is largely suppressed in Pakistan. My question has to do with what would happen if democracy did come to Pakistan. Would its government and policies take on more of a militant Islamic bent? And what kind of implications would that have for our fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda?
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Cookie Parker
post Mar 5 2006, 11:31 AM
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Blackstone writes:


I think you misunderstood me. I agree that he's a secularist and a non-extremist. But he's also not democratically elected, and democracy is largely suppressed in Pakistan. My question has to do with what would happen if democracy did come to Pakistan. Would its government and policies take on more of a militant Islamic bent? And what kind of implications would that have for our fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda?


Blackstone. I sure did misunderstand. Didn't notice it until I sent it. Sorry. wacko.gif

I don't think if Musharaff were in office with this hypothetical "democracy", that it would be militant. He seems to push for a more secular form of government, according to the Wikipedia information. However, with the Taliban entrenched in Pakistan, with the recent US bombing of innocent citizens, I think we have once again given the Taliban a strong argument for recruitment of Muslims agains the US.

Since the Bush family has ties to the Saudis, we are not seriously trying to stop funding of these radical Islamic groups. Funds would more than likely be available for the Taliban to use for recruitment.

I think until we get Bush out of office, we will not be effective in doing anything to stop the spread of the Taliban/Al-Qaeda network.

This post has been edited by Cookie Parker: Mar 5 2006, 11:38 AM
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VDemosthenes
post Mar 5 2006, 07:45 PM
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QUOTE(Blackstone @ Mar 5 2006, 12:19 AM)
QUOTE(VDemosthenes @ Mar 4 2006, 04:25 PM)
3.) I think we need to increase pressure. It's finally a chance to test some American's theory that if we had done the same with similar situations under the old Iraq that Hussein would have bowed to pressure. So, I fully support increasing the amount of international coaxing and hope that it will serve to avenge or prove wrong those who think it will have a positive outcome.
*


Do you think there's any substantial likelihood that doing so would radicalize the country? It's a different situation with Iraq and Hussein, because as I stated above, Hussein had such complete control over his country that there was little danger of Iraq getting any more radicalized than it already was. But Pakistan seems like a different case.
*



I do not doubt anything. The chances of it occurring are equal of it not. Complete control over one country does not mean that the same outcome would be impossible in a non-Democratic nation. Now, unless you can prove to me that Pakistan is a different case and does not simply seem like a different case: I shall support my statements by saying that Pakistan is not different because A.) they are still subject to hiding terrorists and B.) they have a history of tyranny. Feel free to prove me one hundred percent incorrect.



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Blackstone
post Mar 6 2006, 04:19 AM
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QUOTE(Cookie Parker @ Mar 5 2006, 06:31 AM)
I don't think if Musharaff were in office with this hypothetical "democracy", that it would be militant.
*

My concern is that should this democracy come about, Musharraf wouldn't remain in office for very long. Unless it were a partial democracy, similar to the way that constituional monarchies are set up. If something like that were to come about, maybe that could provide a pressure release valve without causing everything to come apart.
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TruthMarch
post Mar 6 2006, 06:01 AM
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[/QUOTE]Except that whatever one might have said about Saddam Hussein, there was no question that he was an enemy of the Ayatollah, and even though a decided majority of his people (the Shi'ites) didn't share that enmity, they had no effective political voice[QUOTE]
Of course he was the enemy to Iran but what I was getting at was a) the US had no qualms whatsoever when deciding to support Hussein. Who cares if Iraq and Iran were enemies? That's reason to turn a bling eye to atrocities? Not in my world. And cool.gif there's a perfect legitimate likelihood that sometime in the future the US will turn on them when they are no longer complying (being useful) with US policies and suffer the same fate as the other nations....try make a deal, if that doesn't work then they'll villify Pakistan like they did Iraq and other nations with mean leaders no worse than others the US choose to support.
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Waqar Arshad
post Mar 9 2006, 11:10 AM
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Pakistan is an asset to USA on the war on terror pakistan has arrested and killed many Taliban and Al-Qaeda Militants and leader's the religious parties were losing ground after the American aid for the Earthquake but have now once agian got large support by using the cartoon issue but the fact is they are losing in popularity specially in Punjab and Sindh but still have support in NWFP and Balochistan.
America always wants pakistan to do more on the war on terror but what they don't realize is unlike america pakistan has not got unlimited resources to fight agaisnt the militants and keep watch on the long border with Afghanistan (specially as the military has to be ready at all times to defend against an Indian invasion).
Coming to democracy, we don't want democracy not for a couple of years atleast because we are fed up with these elected leaders, we elected Benazir and she turned out to be corrupt has has more than 20 cases od corruption in 13 cases, we elected Nawaz Sharif and he turned the country into religious fanatics by banning independant tv channels, newspapers, making laws against women (Hudood ordinance) what the heck even banning men from keeping long hair Zulfiqr ali (another elected leader) used to kill any newspaper editor or oppostion member who oppsed him and the list can go on.....
What i want to point out is most of the people are poor and uneduacated just before the elcetion day you give them free food and they will vote or you so how can democracy work when the people vote without any consideration.
Pervez Musharaf is a great leader even though he isn't an elected presdient but i don't give a damn because he is the right man to lead pakistan. Pakistan had 8.4% growth in economy last year which is second only to china, the literacy rate which was aroun 38% 5 years ago has moved to around 47%, women have more than 20% seats in the National Assembly, there has been no big rise in the defence budget, pakistan has started peace talks with India, there is freedom of speech with more than a 100newspapers and 30 independant tv channels, i can go out wearing what i like and can say anything i want to (even EDIT musharaf) and don't worry about anything, the poverty has decreaded by 7% and the number of jobless people by 5.5% in the last 4 years.......etc



Sorry for bad english



-Edited to remove attempt at bypassing profanity filter.

This post has been edited by Jaime: Mar 9 2006, 12:29 PM
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London2LA
post Mar 9 2006, 07:58 PM
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Wagar,
You offer a perfect example of why Democracy must be more than just having elections. If the institutions, checks and balances and clearly defined limitations on power are not present then all you are doing is electing a limited-term dictator. A leader should not have free reign to make the kinds of sweeping changes you describe. Musharaf also proves the maxim that the most efficient form of government is a benign dictatorship, as GW lamented early in his term.

Slightly off-topic, but Pakistan is an object lesson for Iraq and anywhere else we hold up as an example of blossoming Democracy simple because they held an election.
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Blackstone
post Mar 10 2006, 03:52 AM
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QUOTE(Waqar Arshad @ Mar 9 2006, 06:10 AM)
America always wants pakistan to do more on the war on terror but what they don't realize is unlike america pakistan has not got unlimited resources to fight agaisnt the militants and keep watch on the long border with Afghanistan (specially as the military has to be ready at all times to defend against an Indian invasion).
*

Is it only a question of resources? I just want to reiterate that I agree that Musharraf himself seems to be a genuine ally. I was just wondering about how much public opinion supports him. How significant would you say is anti-American sentiment among the population? And does it have much of an effect on government policy?
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Waqar Arshad
post Mar 10 2006, 05:02 PM
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Well resources do matter for Pakistan as around 40% of the population lives in poverty so to keep watch on a long border and fight militants requires a lot of money specially as Pakistan realize the best way to fight terrorism is to stop new recriuts from joining their ranks and pakistan has accerlated the development and growth of the ribal regions in a bid to stop extremism.
As far as anti american sentiment goes yes there is (in which country there isn't) but one thing i m sure of it is not as much as western media projects it take the Bajur incident as example i saw CNN and BBC telling of that their are huge rallies against US and this and that but the fact on ground was the rallies did not had much support from the people owing to the fact USA had helped the Pakistanis the most during the earhquake and the anti-american sentiment has decraesed greatly in the last six months or so.
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