Monday, November 5, 2007

Bush's Bankrupt "Freedom Agenda"

Another page of folly can be added to the history of Bush/Rice foreign policy.

It should now be clear, if it wasn't already, that Musharraf has been diddling Bush & Co. the past three years or longer.

In exchange for his promises to root out Taliban terrorists on the Afghan border and within Pakistan's own intelligence service, Bush has supplied Musharraf with at least $10 billion in aid. Yet while Musharraf has rendered considerable assistance in the war on terrorism, the Taliban—and possibly Osama Bin Laden himself—retain their sanctuary in Pakistan's northwest territories.

In exchange for Musharraf's promises to be a good democrat someday, Bush has declared Pakistan to be a "major non-NATO ally." Yet, with his strategically timed state of emergency, Musharraf has revealed he's not at all interested in democratic transitions.
The $10 Billion of aid we have dumped into Pakistan has gone, almost entirely, into the military instead of into the existing Pakistani democracy itself, and Musharraf controls the military. Bush now finds himself in the position of dependency on Musharraf, and in light of this "crackdown" to secure Pakistan, which is little more than a power grab by a frightened dictator, the Bush/Rice plan has us committed to standing aside and doing nothing.

If Musharraf goes down, so does the US coalition with Pakistan. If we cut off aid, the military has plenty of willing supporters (namely the Taliban).

There is nothing unique about Musharraf's ploy to retain relevance and power using the justification of "security" to suspend the Pakistani constitution (a trick we are beginning to recognize in our own domestic politics). He is, after all, a dictator. What is noteworthy is the blindness of Bush & Co. in this instance as further reason to question their already sketchy judgment when it comes to matters abroad, and effective, useful foreign policy that truly promotes American interests.
One consequence of this crisis is that Bush's "freedom agenda" is finally bankrupt. He will never again be able to invoke it, even as a rhetorical ploy, without evoking winces or laughter.

In his second inaugural address, where Bush first declared that the main aim of his foreign policy would be to spread democracy and topple tyranny all around the world, he warned dictators that good relations with America "would require the decent treatment of their own people."
Indeed.

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