Don’t blame Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf for all of the problems in Pakistan.
The fact is that governance in a region that is ambivalent about America, Europe and the West in general is becoming more complicated everywhere in the Middle East and South Asia. And it is America’s failure in Iraq, its unwillingness to deliver on Palestine, and its bellicosity and hubris that are motivating the Muslim street against those perceived to be aligned with American interests.
If America wants to help stabilize Pakistan, then President Bush and Condoleezza Rice have an opportunity to “shock the market” and deliver on Palestine. Such a move would remove one of the core grievances in the Muslim world against us — and it might spark the beginning of a mutually reinforcing cycle of virtuous events in the region.
Pakistan’s problems are connected to all of the other problems in the region — and Pervez Musharraf is not only a self-confident dictator, he is responding to the forces that are tearing his nation apart. And those tensions are bigger than his country — and can be shaped by smarter moves on America’s part in collaboration with allies.
But it is good to watch what is happening in Pakistan. Because unless there is a “strategic shift” in the region, as Senator Chuck Hagel recently called for, Musharraf’s moves could metastasize in Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, and other states in the region.
Todd Gitlin suggests “Who Lost Pakistan?” as a Democratic war cry — but I’d suggest “Who Lost the Middle East?” or “Who Lost the Whole World (except Israel, Palau, and the Marshall Islands!)?”
— Steve Clemons