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HOW NOT TO BE A SUCCESSFUL DICTATOR

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    HOW NOT TO BE A SUCCESSFUL DICTATOR

    http://bigeye.com/foreignc.htm

    May 5, 2002

    If you want to be a successful dictator, don't hold a referendum designed to show how much the people love you. No one believes such nonsense any more, particularly not the world media, which rightfully dismissed as a farce this week's crudely rigged referendum in Pakistan.

    The vote, designed to give military leader Gen. Prevez Musharraf some semblance of political legitimacy, didn't. But it certainly embarrassed Pakistan in the eyes of the world.

    Washington, the champion of world democracy, remained stone silent.

    I interviewed Musharraf at Army HQ in Rawalpindi five months after he came to power in a military coup that ousted the corrupt and inept prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. The diminutive general looked more like a doctor or academic than the commando officer that he was. Musharraf did not have any of the toughness or charisma I had felt when meeting with Pakistan's previous military ruler, Zia ul Haq, none of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's brilliance and charm, nor any of the fire-breathing military panache of Pakistan's senior officers, the ones Benazir scolds me about, calling them, `your beloved generals.'

    During our interview, Musharraf seemed weary, withdrawn, a reluctant leader unexpectedly put into power by his fellow army generals. It seemed Musharraf almost wished he didn't have to face Pakistan's enormous problems: near bankruptcy, political instability, hostile India, omnivorous corruption.

    Washington greeted the coup with anger and outrage. The US media and Congress denounced Musharraf as another nasty, Third World military dictator, branded Pakistan a `terrorist state,' and called for an immediate return to what in Pakistan passed for democracy.

    Then came 9/11. The White House declared war on Muslim extremists as well as Islamic groups opposed to American domination of their homelands and resources. The Bush Administration seized on 9/11 to launch a campaign to acquire the oil and gas of Central Asia and Iraq. Total cooperation from Pakistan was a key part of this plan. Washington put a gun to Musharraf's head. Musharraf accepted the American ultimatum with unseemly haste, abandoned former allies, and became an eager, obedient servant of the United States.

    Exit Musharraf the Third World Dictator. Enter Musharraf, Statesman. . American criticism of Pakistan's new dictatorship abruptly ceased. In a remarkable volte face, the White House and US media overnight transformed Musharraf into an enlightened ruler and bulwark against Islamic evil.

    Each time Musharraf took a major step that pleased Washington - abandoning Taliban, providing the US with military bases, sharing intelligence, locking up Islamic militants, curbing the media, banning political demonstrations, giving up the quest to liberate Kashmir - his stature abroad grew apace. American aid flowed in; Pakistan's huge debts were rescheduled.

    Over the past seven months, Pakistan has gone from being the world's leading independent Muslim state to a client of the United States. Many of Pakistan's best military and intelligence officers have been purged on orders from Washington; its soldiers now serve as sepoys - or native troops - to US occupation forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is under constant American monitoring.

    During this remarkably short period, American support transformed Gen. Musharraf into a true Mideast-style strongman, complete with a growing cult of personality worthy of Saddam Hussein. Most interesting, Musharraf has clearly been bitten by the bug of international celebrity, an infection that has afflicted numerous other Third World leaders.

    When Washington turns on the charm, it's hard to resist. There are meetings in the White House with the world's most important man ( who recently referred to Pakistanis as `Pakis' and, not long ago, couldn't name the leader of Pakistan ). Speeches to Congress, gala state banquets, and intimate dinners with Barbara Walters and Henry Kissinger in New York. There are glowing stories in the US media about progress in education, women's rights, and agriculture. There are tens of millions in American aid, much of which can be siphoned, r used to reward cronies and supporters in the military and media. This is what happened to Egypt's Anwar Sadat, who ended up adored in New York but hated in Cairo.

    Pakistan, which used to pride itself on its independence, is now going the way of US allies in the Mideast like Egypt, Tunisia, and Jordan - thinly disguised military dictatorships whose armed forces, intelligence agencies, media, police, national bank, and very economic survival are controlled by the US government. No doubt, after so many decades of political and economic crises, some Pakistanis will welcome become an American satrapy. But there will be just as many who do not and will likely resort to violence to oppose their government.

    Pakistan deserves better than becoming Washington's newest gendarme in the Muslim world. Musharraf, a decent, honest man and patriot, still has a last chance to save Pakistan and, like Chile's former military ruler, Gen. Augusto Pinocht, to put his nation on the road to real democracy by cleaning house, then returning the army to the barracks.

    If Musharraf does not, and allows ultimate power to ultimately corrupt him, he will confirm what Indians have long sneered - that Pakistanis are simply too backwards for democratic government.

    #2
    let the people believe that democracy doesn't work.

    Comment


      #3
      Referendum only reminds people of what they are denied - Freedom!

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by kumarakn:
        Referendum only reminds people of what they are denied - Freedom!
        Well said!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by kumarakn:
          Referendum only reminds people of what they are denied - Freedom!
          Oh yeah, as people had freedom during Democracy

          Take Your Best Shot At Me

          Comment


            #6
            PT,

            "Oh yeah, as people had freedom during Democracy"

            Democracy means freedom, and participation of every one in country’s building. All democracies in the world are respected. Though there are problems, but still that is the best form of government in 21st century. You have already tested the fruits dictatorship mixed with religion and its demolishing and demoralising effects after 911. Do you want to continue that kind of anarchy in the country?

            Please read the article again and see how 'gora' thinks about a country in a neutral way, not even born or lived their.

            Sincerely,
            FARID

            Comment

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