Power Grab in Pakistan

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

We had a show planned for today that you'll have to wait until tomorrow to hear, because Pakistan imploded over the weekend: President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency and locked down the country. The U.S. threatened to cut off aid, but that's a can of worms in itself. Remember, the U.S. needs Pakistan in the war on terror (Iran's just not a viable route to Afghanistan), and there's always that added bit of headache (read: possible HUGE disaster)... Pakistan has nuclear bombs. If you picked up a newspaper or logged onto your computer in the last couple of days, you already what a mess this is. So today, we'll talk about options... what can the United States do to reign in Musharraf? Should Washington cut off aid?

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Since the "War On Terror" is a fiction only W-heads really believe in, I believe the "can of worms" is a moot point. Certainly Musharraf is relying significantly on this misconceived acceptance of his nonsense.

Sent by Kevin S. Gareau | 2:15 PM | 11-5-2007

Once again we are caught in our rhetoric of democracy! Part of the dilemma of supporting Musharraf is that we are so busy promoting democracy in nations we don't like, but as usual, we are forced to support dictatorships which are either necessary or friendly to the U.S. No wonder the US looks so hypocritical to the rest of the world.

Sent by Alexandra Korros | 2:22 PM | 11-5-2007

Musharraf has violated all the promises of rooting out corruption he made when he assumed power. During his army career he was instrumental in supporting the Taliban and picking fights with India. His current cooperation with the so-called "War on Terror" is not because of his convictions, but his desire to hold on to power at any cost even if it meant turning his back on his previous allies like the Taliban. The sacking of Supreme Court justices has made the choice very clear for US. US needs to foster stable institutions, democracy and rule of law rather than making deals with dictators. The majority of Pakistanis will become even more anti-American if they see us supporting a dictator and effectively disenfranchising them. Musharraf needs to hold free and fair elections and hand over power to a civilian government.

Sent by Junaid | 2:23 PM | 11-5-2007

If the US doesn't give these poor countries money, won't the Terrorist countries step in and make Pakistan theirs. Is it so easy to buy and sale countries?

Sent by Abish | 2:24 PM | 11-5-2007

THis thought had been in my head all day, and I'm still trying to figure out how to voice it without sounding cynical or disingenuous. In all of the recent controversies in Pakistan, the first people repoted taking to the streets in protest are the lawyers. I'm still trying to imagine armies of lawyers taking to the streets to protest our loss of freedoms in the US.

Sent by Stan Durey - Bucks County, PA | 2:30 PM | 11-5-2007

US protests against Musharif's actions seem disengenuous. The administration, after all, considers the Patriot Act, government spying, and manipulating for greater executive powers all to be anti-terrorist actions.

Let's be real. Spreading democracy is not Bush's true purpose; it's the "plan B reason" he gave to justify the Iraq War, once plan A (weapons of mass destruction) was exposed as a lie. If he were really out to spread democracy, there are dozens of democratic forces (in Burma, Darfur) begging for US aid. But, of course those countries are not our "strategic allies."

Sent by Linda Turner | 2:55 PM | 11-5-2007

It is ironic that Mr. Bush is criticizing Musharraf for suspending Pakistan's Constitution, when that is what Bush has done to the U.S. Constitution.

Sent by William | 8:23 PM | 11-5-2007