Musharraf’s star turn
October 9, 2006
I have been a tad slow in posting things here. In fact I had also not realized there were a couple of comments waiting to be moderated.
But here’s something I wrote on Musharraf. A condensed version of this will be published elsewhere in print.
Terrorism as theater
I was impressed by the bravura performance: General Musharraf can give anybody in Hollywood a run for their money come Oscar time. The gushing interviews, the uniform and the salutes, the strutting and preening: this was classic caudillo-as-thespian. Musharraf has become America’s favorite dictator-du-jour, a position, it is useful to remember, once held by Manuel Noriega of Panama and Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Sic transit gloria mundi!
The performance was meant to sell a few copies of Musharraf’s new autobiography. It’s not money, though, since he has socked away billions (just from his nuclear Wal-mart): it is fame that the dictator is after. And he ordered up a nice little “Osama is dead” rumor right on schedule to get the juices flowing.
Musharraf is living proof of the old bromide about fooling some of the people all the time. In particular, those who willingly suspend their disbelief, namely the strategically inept ‘leaders’ of India.
After years of Musharraf’s perfidy, his game plan should be clear. Run with the ‘hares’, that is, Mohammedan fundamentalists, gaining massive petro-dollar funding from the Saudis. And hunt with the ‘hounds’, that is, the American State Department, gaining huge amounts of weapons and other privileges.
Like a good general, Musharraf has made his strategic goal – that of hobbling, and if possible, dismembering, India – quite acceptable to his partners, both Arab and American. He has demonstrated that the so-called ‘peace process’ he waves about periodically is something that the Indian ‘leadership’ has no idea how to deal with.
The ‘peace process’ consists of the following: Musharraf takes money from Saudi Arabia, trains and arms Mohammedan fundamentalists, who then slip into India and kill Indians. Whenever Indians threaten to take action, Musharraf mollifies them with an offer of talks, and sets the rules of the game as follows: “Kashmir is the problem. Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is inalienably Pakistan’s; Indian Kashmir is to be discussed”. In other words, what’s ours is ours; what’s yours is ours too. Rather a succinct statement of the general Semitic approach to land.
Having no sense of strategic intent, India’s ‘leadership’ are railroaded into accepting the Musharraf Doctrine. And whenever the ‘peace process’ is not quite going his way, Musharraf arranges for yet another atrocity in India – which always plays well to his domestic audience; and he is certain there will be no retaliation or damage to him or his causes, including genocide against Baluchis. There is no pain to him in causing pain to India, so Musharraf and his Chinese handlers will keep doing it again and again.
Indian ‘leaders’ look like bumbling rustics when they come on American TV. Musharraf, in his khaki or his Armanis, comes across like ‘one of us’. Well, there is a potential downside – as Tariq Ali, a British Pakistani, once said, Pakistan is America’s ‘international condom’: used and then flushed down the toilet. This may well be the end result again.
You cannot really fool all the people all the time: NATO’s generals, for instance, have just said loudly that the ISI is the root of all terrorism in Afghanistan (see http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-2110357,curpg-1.cms)
The Great Game is a tad dangerous. It is worth remembering the fate of another who strutted about in Kabul: Najibullah was hanged from a lamp-post after being suffocated with his own genitals; and his body was used for target practice. I am reminded of Ozymandias.