You would never know that 165 million Pakistanis live in Pakistan after reading the nonstop coverage about General Pervez Musharraf’s forced resignation and how it will affect you and me ‘and al-Qaeda makes three’. The Paks hardly merit a mention.
The NY Times article is typical, 34 grafs about the fight against the Taliban, nuclear weapons, the succession in the army, the party rivalries. Not one word about what is on the minds of the citizens of the country. No reference to whether the interminable and just-ended military dictatorship might have something to do with the unenviable state of Pakistan’s economy or the dead-end lives faced by most of its inhabitants.
We’re agog with the possible impact of political fighting among the Pakistani factions and whether or not it will weaken the Americans’ geopolitical goals. Without a trace of irony, the writer worries along with the usual ‘senior Bush administration officials’ and anonymous CIA sources about how well Musharraf’s replacements will pony up and do their bidding.
I naively thought that political fighting among factions was otherwise known as ‘democracy’ and seem to recall something about that being the official raison d’état for everything from conquering Iraq to defending Georgia. But when it comes to U.S. security needs, the topic isn’t even raised.
Instead, we gaze longingly at Musharrah—ol’ Perv, I like to call him—and murmur our anxious doubt that the incoming team will ever measure up.