Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

  Bush’s GWOT depends entirely upon one Dictator

By now it ought to be clear that George Bush doesn’t have a foreign policy; instead he has a GWOT around which everything else is ‘organized’. By the same token, Bush has no Pakistan-policy; he has a Musharraf-policy.

The Deputy Secretary of State, John Negroponte—who already in the 1980s had a record of cozying up to “friendly” dictators—assured the House Foreign Affairs Committee today that Musharraf is in fact “indispensable” to the United States.

So there it is.

From Negroponte’s opening remarks:

[On November 5] President Bush called for democracy to be restored quickly, for elections to be held as scheduled and for President Musharraf to resign his position as Chief of Army Staff. But the President also pointed out that President Musharraf has been indispensable in the global War on Terror, so indispensable that extremists and radicals have tried to assassinate him multiple times.

…the Government of Pakistan has been an indispensable leader in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

That’s quite stunning as an admission of foreign policy failure: George Bush’s entire GWOT revolves around one man—a brutal and devious dictator at that. As long as Musharraf pretends to “help” in the GWOT, then he remains “indispensable”. That’s been true for a long time, of course. It’s just that Musharraf’s imposition of martial law has forced the ugly truth out into plain sight.

Here is Bush waxing eloquent last year during a state visit by Musharraf:

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This President is a strong defender of freedom and the people of Pakistan…

He understands that we are in a struggle against extremists who will use terror as a weapon. He understands it just about as good as anybody in the world -- after all, they've tried to take his life. These extremists who can't stand the thought of a moderate leader leading an important country like Pakistan want to kill the President. That should say things to the people of Pakistan and the people of America, that because he has been a strong, forceful leader, he has become a target of those who can't stand the thought of moderation prevailing…

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe first time I ever met President Musharraf, he talked about the need to make sure that school systems in Pakistan worked well. I was impressed then, and I'm impressed now, by your commitment to an education system that prepares students for the -- and gives students the skills necessary to compete in a global economy.

We talked about democracy. The last time I was with the President, he assured me, and assured the people that were listening to the news conference, that there would be free and fair elections in Pakistan in 2007. He renewed that commitment, because he understands that the best way to defeat radicalism and extremism is to give people a chance to participate in the political process of a nation.

You’d have thought, given that this one man is indispensable to the GWOT, that George Bush would have checked in immediately with him as soon as it became clear that all the aforementioned sweetness and light was not breaking out in Pakistan. But as I’ve been saying from the first day of martial law, Bush has remained eerily silent and passive.

He was waiting for day five of the crisis before acting (as we now learn):

PRESIDENT BUSH: I spoke to President Musharraf right before I came over here to visit with President Sarkozy. And my message was that we believe strongly in elections, and that you ought to have elections soon, and you need to take off your uniform. You can't be the President and the head of the military at the same time. So I had a very frank discussion with him.

That’s it. That’s all we learn about the long-awaited day when Bush would spring into action. He told us nothing about what Musharraf said, what he promised to do, or what Bush’s own plans were.

The White House would not disclose details of the call or Musharraf's response.

"President Musharraf listened carefully and heard what President Bush had to say," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council. He said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had talked with Musharraf on Monday. "The president felt like he should give him a call today and reiterate his position," Johndroe said.

He just felt he should give him a call today. Why today?

Might it be, perhaps, because Bush had just given a couple of rather awkward television interviews with French and German stations? These foreign journalists don’t always realize that they’re supposed to behave like potted palms.

Q So to a certain extent, you did contribute to giving greater power to Iran, because it no longer is facing its hated enemy on the other side. So now is there a true threat in Iran, and are you ready now to invade Iran as you did with Afghanistan and Iraq? So it is indeed true that Vice President -- is it true that Vice President Cheney has a plan for that?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't know where you're getting all these rumors -- there must be some weird things going on in Europe these days -- because I have made it abundantly clear, now is the time to deal with a true threat to world peace -- that's Iran -- and to do it diplomatically and peacefully. And that's what I'm going to spend a lot of time on with President Sarkozy. But of course we want to solve these problems peacefully.

Q But if it doesn't work, if the sanctions and the threats do not work, what happens?

THE PRESIDENT: We are going to -- as I said, all options are on the table. But the objective is to make them work. I'm not so sure I agree with your hypothesis, that "if they don't work." I'm the kind of guy that says, let's make sure they do work. And that's what I intend to talk to President Sarkozy about, and Angela Merkel about, and that is to keep the international pressure and to keep the focus on the ambitions of an Iranian regime that has publicly declared its intention to destroy Israel, for example, and have defied the demands of the IAEA. And so they're not trusted -- to be trusted with a enrichment program. We made that abundantly clear to them. And I believe we can solve this problem diplomatically.

But to say that to enhance a free society on Iran's border strengthens the Iranians is just not true. I simply don't buy into that logic -- or illogic, in this case. I think a free society on Iran's border is going to be -- make their life more difficult. I think that, ultimately, they're going to feel pressure about the type of government they have when their people look across the border and see a flourishing, free society.

You can’t have the next day’s headlines saying “Bush calls Iraq a flourishing society”, now can you?

crossposted from

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