Monday, April 27, 2009

Is Pakistan on the brink?

Juan Cole's Informed Comment blog is an excellent example of what a difference blogging has made in terms of the immediate information, includijng expert information like his, available to the public about current events.

In Pakistan Crisis and Social Statistics 04/26/09 argues that Pakistan is not nearly so fragile as the Obama administration and seemingly most everyone else seems to think it is. This is obviously critically important to the escalating "AfPak" War. Because if Pakistan's democratic government is in no danger of being overthrown by the "Taliban" and "Al Qa'ida", then escalating military attacks inside Pakistan could make matters worse without any corresponding benefit.

Analyzing election statistics, ethnic composition and language factors, he finds it unlikely in the extreme that the Pushtun Islamic fundamentalists that our press codes generally as the "Taliban" could take over the Pakistani government:

What I see is a Washington that is uncomfortable with anything like democracy and civilian rule in Pakistan; which seems not to realize that the Pakistani Taliban are a small, poorly armed fringe of Pushtuns, who are a minority; and I suspect US policy-makers of secretly desiring to find some pretext for removing Pakistan's nuclear capacity.

All the talk about the Pakistani government falling within 6 months, or of a Taliban takeover, flies in the face of everything we know about the character of Pakistani politics and institutions during the past two years.

My guess is that the alarmism is also being promoted from within Pakistan by Pervez Musharraf, who wants to make another military coup; and by civilian politicians in Islamabad, who want to extract more money from the US to fight the Taliban that they are secretly also bribing to attack Afghanistan.[my emphasis]
On that latter point, it's not clear whether he's just speculating or making more of an educated guess. It's scarcely ever mentioned in our press, at least not that I see, that Afghanistan's regime is "pro-Indian" in Pakistan's eyes. And that the India-Pakistan differences are far more of a concern for their leaders, both civilian and military, than helping NATO keep a "pro-Indian" government in power in Afghanistan.

The hype about Pakistan is very sinister and mysterious and makes no sense to someone who actually knows the country.
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