Monday, May 28, 2007

Teetering Musharraf Buoyed by U.S. Alliance

WaPo reported As confidence in Gen. Pervez Musharraf falls at home and abroad amid allegations he is moving away from democracy and becoming increasingly autocratic, the Pakistani president has had at least one unwavering ally: the United States. Pakistanis -- particularly opposition figures -- are watching for signs that that will change.
It is not likely that it will change if the only opposition he faces wants to make the country a complete Islamic state, i.e. let the people who are sending Taliban into Afganistan control Pakistan with its nuclear weapons. We would like to see a democratic Pakistan, but one that would remain democratic, not democratically elect a theoacracy that would then permanently take over.
Any indication of weakening support from the United States, they say, could spell the end of Musharraf's teetering administration. But policymakers and analysts here and in Washington insist that is unlikely because the United States lacks a Plan B in Pakistan and is uncomfortable with alternatives to a man who has been considered a vital ally since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "U.S. policy in Pakistan is to move toward free and fair elections. But in practice, that comes in well behind the anti-terrorism agenda," said Teresita C. Schaffer, a former U.S. ambassador and director of the South Asia program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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