President Bush’s handling of foreign policy has been an unmitigated disaster.
The U.S. has failed to catch Osama Bin Laden while creating civil war in Iraq and offending allies across the world.
Therefore, I’m disappointed, but not surprised that Bush’s policy toward Pakistan has turned out to be an equally misguided failure.
This past weekend, the flimsy government of Pakistan fell into complete upheaval as General Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency.
Musharraf suspended the constitution, stationed troops in the capital, ordered police to raid the Supreme Court, cut telephone lines and shut down the opposition media. He claims these measures are needed to control Islamic extremists who are threatening to topple the government.
However, his opponents, including former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto claim Musharraf took these actions to save his own failing political career. He was recently “re-elected” in a boycotted vote with a 99 percent margin of victory.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan was expected to rule the election a fraud. However, before this could happen, Musharraf had the chief justice of the Supreme Court taken captive and replaced him with a crony during Saturday’s crackdown.
Needless to say, taking the chief justice of the Supreme Court captive is not a standard activity in a crackdown on terrorists. Mushharaf has destroyed fledging Pakistani democracy with his own totalitarian military rule.
As former Prime Minister Bhutto said, “I agree with (Musharraf) that we are facing a political crisis, but I believe the problem is dictatorship. I don’t believe the solution is dictatorship.”
As expected, the Bush administration, ever the promoters of democracy, reacted with outrage to this breakdown of the government.
Oh wait, they didn’t.
While Condoleeza Rice said that Musharraf’s actions were, “deeply disturb(ing),” they weren’t disturbing enough to stop the Pentagon from announcing that, “The declaration does not impact our military support of Pakistan’s efforts in the war on terror.”
Now why would the Bush administration let Musharraf have free reign over Pakistan while destroying its fragile democracy? Well, President Bush, for whatever reason, views Pakistan as a key ally, and recently said, “We’re on the hunt [for terrorists] together.”
This statement is preposterous. Pakistan has been a key incubator for terrorists, having created the Taliban (who provided shelter for bin Laden as he planned the 9/11 assault) and providing refuge for the embattled Al-Qaeda at key junctures.
The New York Times reported, the U.S. knew where the number two leader of Al-Qaeda was at one point in 2005 and prepared a raid to capture him.
However, the mission was called off at the last minute because America was barred from entering the region of Pakistan where the terrorist leader was, and the U.S. feared a diplomatic crisis with Pakistan if the raid were completed. Strange, we are hunting for terrorists together but can only hunt in certain parts of their country.
I don’t remember Bush saying that his mission of capturing the terrorists responsible for 9/11 “dead or alive” would only happen if the country harboring the terrorists gave us their permission to go get them.
Instead of holding Pakistan responsible for 9/11, we attacked Iraq, which had virtually nothing to do with 9/11.
We toppled Hussein, while giving weapons to his thuggish neighbor. Musharraf has an advanced military and nuclear weapons, but has never been threatened for his weapons of mass destruction.
While Bush is threatening to start “World War III” with Iran, he remains allied with a totalitarian nuclear regime in Pakistan.
Once Musharraf is toppled, radical terrorists will have Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal at their disposal.
President Bush looks on without taking any action as Pakistan topples into anarchy. Musharraf should consider himself lucky – since there are no oilfields to seize in Pakistan, his reign of terror will be allowed to continue unopposed.
Ian Bezek is a sophomore economics major. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.