Bhutto and Musharraf, Feuding Again


bhutto acrylic.jpg
Frankly there’s not a whole lot new here to comment on — they’re feuding over the recent bombings, IAEA inspectors, terrorism, and democracy. Expect plenty more through January. But I did want to highlight some fantastic acrylic paintings created by my friend over at Chapati Mystery.

musharraf - acrylic.jpg

The latest are a batch of Musharraf and Bhutto acrylics that tell a set of stories — some familiar, some relatively unknown (who would have guessed the General cherished his Pekingese dogs so).
An old roommate of mine had an Andy Warhol painting of Mao in his room that really offended a defense policy researcher from AEI, who was over for a dinner party and simply could not embrace the irony.
For those who can appreciate “the search” in the art, definitely take a look at some of the other paintings which can be found here (“To Us” is also quite priceless) or at the blog Chapati Mystery.
–Sameer Lalwani


5 comments on “Bhutto and Musharraf, Feuding Again

  1. rich says:

    btw–re my comment above, I’m not being a purist, not by any means. And I note several points I could refine–but I know any readers are capable of grappling with the core idea in good faith.
    Sameer: We (meaning, American citizens) deserve a better discussion of any Bhutto vs. Musharraf debate than an instant default to ‘Bhutto’s corrupt; therefore democracy must bend to a ‘benevolent’ [sic] dictator’.
    That’s an intrinsically bankrupt position that has little to offer.
    In short, our Founding Fathers established–and defined–our foundational principles of governance PRECISELY to maintain the ultimate soft power abroad, as an authentic RealPolitik.
    ONLY a foreign policy rooted in authentic American democracy at home can we wield sheer military power effectively in the long term.
    ONLY when that authentic domestic democracy projects ITS OWN values abroad, and applies them in practice and in policy can America secure its national interest objectives, operate in a geopolitically savvy way, and eliminate blowback.
    Why? In 1770s, King George III sent Hessians, paid mercenaries, to oppress and police English citizens in the 13 colonies—under the guise of protecting them.
    For that, we joined together in a Revolution, to put an end to that tyranny. NOW, we employ mercenaries (Serb, S.Afr, ElSalv, Colombian–& American), ostensibly to protect Iraqi citizens. In their own country. In their own homes. Ridiculously.
    This mode of foreign policy utterly betrays the purpose and point of America as a nation, and turns on its head the motivation for founding this country in 1776. And that betrayal directly caused the blowback that came, most recently, in the form of WTC attacks on 9/11. The Vietnamese couldn’t reach that far, nor could N.Korea. It’s a new world, and a new foreign policy mode, adhering more closely to our founding Constitutional principles is required, if we are to survive intact and unscathed.


  2. ... says:

    lapata i like your pictures..putting people with animals gives them a more human face. thanks for sharing them here.


  3. rich says:

    Didn’t have time to comment on your original Pakistan post, in which you cut Bhutto and raised Musharraf, at the cost of democracy in Pakistan. A rough summary, but it was a post barren of fruitful insight and plainly naive about the value, utility, and effectiveness of a false Realpolitik. You didn’t make the case.
    Granting the complexity of Pakistan’s unique geopolitical circumstance, the post seemed to cater to a very conventional mindset that has earned little credit, post-1945. And currying favor in those quarters has been disastrous for several decades, running counter as it does to the foundational political and true Realpolitikal principles that motivated the founding of this country in the first place.
    I omit quarts and liters of nuance here, so as to make my point clearly. But where we deviate from those principles, we go wrong. We damage the national interest–and our national security. That goes for all three branches of government–not merely the Exec.
    Corruption is no rationalization to “avert” democracy as though it would be some kind of disaster. If it were, surely no-bid contracts to Halliburton, the Republican corruption w/Abramhoff, and Hunt’s oil deal w/the Kurds (Hunt is Bush’s appointee to an oil intel comm), etc.,—would easily justify removing Bush in favor of a military dictator. But—Oh YEAH: Bush has plainly claimed that very power, as The Decider, to issue whichever decrees he whimsically inflicts on the body politic. It’s not moot, nor off-topic: folks continually err in thinking Bush doesn’t mean what he says, when his meaning is in plain sight. And he’s not dumb, by any stretch.
    So, what’s saucy for the goose, is saucy for the gander. If corruption justifies eliminating an icon of democracy, in favor of a military general under whose watch AQ Khan catalyzed nuclear proliferation in Asia if not globally… then impeachment of George W. looks mighty, mighty appealing. It’s a no brainer. A square deal. By YOUR logic.
    So–Corruption is no justification for putting our weight on the wrong side of a political cause that has historic consequences–and realpolitikal costs. This kinda covert & overt intervention on the wrong side of political movements for specious reasons has cost America tremendously, over and over and over again. Predictable–if you know your history.
    Point is, it’s wrong-headed of foreign policy analysts to offer rationalizations running counter to democratic governance or sovereignty on the world stage, prior to applying those same ‘ideals’, such as they are, in practice here at home. Hell, it’s all the more counter to the national interest to do so when things are hunky dory domestically. And who bears the cost of the too-clever false pragmatism that doesn’t really understand the way the world works? We do. I.e., America. And, of course, Pakistan.
    Yes, I’m being frank (but decidedly civil), because the point has to be made, and the complexity can be hashed out in another forum.
    Those experts w/fine-grained info may dismiss this, but there they err: the closer we examine the Pakistani (/Afghani/Iraqi/Iranian) circumstances, the MORE this false notion of power and expedience in Pakistan disintegrates. The recent flood of data bears out my point, in spades. (I understand I’m being general; the media doesn’t permit unilaterally delving into specifics.
    That said, two points:
    First–the current difficulty wouldn’t be at issue, nor my comment necessary, had America followed the principles I’d cited in the first place. Ex.: the CIA & Saudi Wahabbists implanted Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in Algeria. At great cost to innocent Algerian citizens in the resulting civil war. That UTTERLY belies your post lauding the Saudis as force for stability, granting that role-for-stability–notably without real/final solutions–in highly limited arenas. Point is, our own illegal (& ineffective) policies created the very justification for Algerian military governance to offset a fundamentalist victory at the polls. Very, very stupid. Damaging.
    Further, blowback from parallel ops in Afghanistan, first with al Quaeda vs the USSR and later against al-Q and the Taliban set up the current, highly compromised circumstances that apparently require you to incur greater costs by supporting Musharraf at priceless expense of Bhutto. (yes, yes, nothing’s clear cut and no one’s pure. Doesn’t validate your post). Point is, DEMANDING Afghan sovereignty from the USSR (by such means)only to REFUSE it to them after the fact (whatever the succeeding form of governance), is a recipe for disaster. We paid a price. We’re still paying the price. Put another way, allying oneself with al Quaeda ostensibly b/c no Muslim should have to follow orders from the USSR, only to turn around and demand they follow our orders, doesn’t just beg disaster, it’s borderline psychotic.
    Second—the bomb targeting Bhutto speaks volumes re the non-utility of our recent ‘anti’-terror policies. Pakistan is a country where a 17-year-old girl who falls in love with the wrong guy can be stoned to death–with the full enthusiastic participation of an entire community. (I’ll cite a different case.) Is not the assassination attempt on Bhutto simply that same malevolent act, writ large? Carried out at a grander scale? Sameer! Is that what you would assist?
    I ask b/c what is being killed here is Sovereignty. The sovereignty of that 17-year-old girl. The sovereign right of Muslim fundamentalists to maintain their own culture. The sovereignty of Pakistan as a nation capable of self-determination. The sovereignty of individuals, of inevitable democracy in Pakistan–and of those who will fulfill or enact it. The sovereignty of Iran.
    Supporting Musharraf does not help. While my comment is way too general–who is being the moral relativist now? I have no problem honoring another culture. It is unquestionably a problem when you–or our govt/admin, or our foreign policy gurus–do not honor OUR culture. Political culture, culture of power, or otherwise. A modest look at recent events in Pakistan bear this post out, despite the shortcomings intrinsic to this forum or my necessarily general comments.


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