December 27, 2007

Bhutto Assassination Is A Wake-Up Call

For the American electorate. It's time to stop all this silliness over the candidates' religious chops and start focusing on the most important issue we face today. JPod puts things back into perspective:

It is a sobering and frightening reminder of the challenges and threats and dangers posed to the United States by radical Islam, the nature of the struggle being waged against the effort to extend democratic freedoms in the Muslim world, and the awful possibility of a nuclear Pakistan overrun by Islamofascists. This is what the next president will be compelled by circumstance to spend a plurality of his or her time on. This is what really matters, not the cross Mike Huckabee lit up behind his head in his Christmas ad.

American politics would dearly love to take a holiday from history, just as it did in the 1990s. But our enemies are not going to allow us to do so. The murder of Bhutto moves foreign policy, the war on terror, and the threat of Islamofascism back into the center of the 2008 campaign. How candidates respond to it, and issues like it that will come up in the next 10 months, will determine whether they are fit for the presidency.

Amen to that.

Posted by Gary at December 27, 2007 11:13 AM | TrackBack

I hate to say I predicted it, but one of my last posts at the old place said she probably wouldn't last the week if we were ever successful in putting her in power. It is terrible that she is dead, but it would have been worse for us if we had been successful in forcing her in and Musharraf out, and then having her get assassinated. In other words, we were once again fortunate that what our State Department was working for failed to come to pass.

Wretchard explained, a while ago, that Pakistan can be understood as a three-way game, with the Army, Radical Islam, and the political parties all vying for power. Two of the three will gang up on the other in an alliance of convenience. Right now, the alliance of convenience is Musharraf and the Radicals vs. the political parties -- he is willing to cede ground to the radicals in order to keep the political parties in line. The dilemma for us is while we'd like the political parties to be in charge, they are essentially powerless -- only two of the agents in Pakistan's game have the ability to use force.

From my point of view, it is stupid to try to put the political parties in power unless the alliance with the Army is assured -- and right now, the Army doesn't want it. This means we basically have to put up with whatever Musharraf does and eventually hope he brokers a deal where he has gains/regains some political legitimacy, or moves aside in favor of someone broadly acceptable to both the Army and the parties. That person, right now, has the unfortunate problem of not existing.

The state department was trying to put Bhutto back in power without first securing the support of the Army -- in other words, tying America's credibility to the weakest of the three agents in Pakistan's situation. This is simple diplomatic malpratice -- not that we should expect better; after all, they still think that maybe Fatah will really work for peace in Palestine (analagous to Pakistan in that they are the weakest party in the game -- and therefore the one the State Deparment hearts).

Our only hope is that we back Musharraf at this point, that he is successfully able to tell the political parties to shut up and stand in line, and hope he reengages the war on Al Qaeda.

That being said, she was extremely brave and certainly didn't deserve to get killed.

Posted by: The Abbot at December 27, 2007 12:04 PM

Bhutto's murder proves once again we live in a dangerous world. Our security will be determined not by "soft power", as the peaceniks would have us believe, but by our commitment to our ideals, freedom and America's security. Diplomacy works when it is back by a strong military, and a President who projects to the world, that such interests will be vigorously defended. If the Islamofascists perceive an American President's hesitation, they will exploit it ruthlessly.

Posted by: kmr at December 27, 2007 12:27 PM