Writing for Salon, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett analyze the Benazir Bhutto assassination and the same Bush faith-based foreign policy that led to Iraq and a Hamas victory in territories.
One of President Bush's more appalling flights of fancy in the foreign policy arena is his belief that democratically elected governments will somehow be more inclined than incumbent authoritarians to support U.S. policy objectives that are wildly unpopular with their own electorates. The logical absurdity of this proposition should be readily apparent, but, nevertheless, the Bush administration has proceeded blithely to test it in the real world: In January 2006, the White House and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted, over the objections of Palestinian and Israeli leaders, on holding elections in occupied Palestinian territories -- purportedly to elect a Palestinian government that would have the legitimacy to crack down on ongoing anti-Israeli violence. The result of this experiment, of course, was the victory of Hamas, long designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.The prescriptions of Democratic presidential candidates fare little better, in their view.
Oh, for a nostalgic dose of realpolitik:
Sound policy toward Pakistan must start with a sober understanding of reality. That reality was described with admirable succinctness in 2004 by the 9/11 Commission, writing in its final report: "Musharraf's government represents the best hope for stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan." But insisting that Musharraf -- or any potential successor from the senior ranks of the Pakistani army -- break ranks with his military power base and the only institution that can limit the spread of militant violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan is only going to undermine the prospects for such stability.So sensible. So unfashionable.
Getting Pakistan "right" will require that we, first of all, get Afghanistan"right," and that we embed both of these troubled states in a broader regional strategy that includes the development of regional security institutions. Russia and China are already moving in this direction with their cultivation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, encompassing the former Soviet states of Central Asia -- which have largely abandoned their post-9/11 security ties to the United States -- and including Pakistan, India and Iran as observers. If the United States wants to preserve a serious leadership role in the region, or simply protect its critical security interests where Central and South Asia come together, it will need to abandon comforting illusions about "democratization" and begin working seriously to persuade Pakistan and other regional states that they can serve their interests best by working with us.