Bhutto


Vinod at Sepia Mutiny
has some thoughts:

  • Both Musharaff and Bhutto are considered Pro-US / Pro-West / Secular leaders
    • Especially relative to the Islamists
    • And likely relative to the general population ;
    • Bhutto moreso than Musharraf
  • So, Jihadist forces (who are both anti-Musharraf and anti-Bhutto) are a likely culprit
    • To them, Bhutto was a powerful ally to Musharraf (rather than a rival) and potentially more dangerous in the long run
      • Knocking out an important ally wins them almost as much “cred” as taking out Musharraf directly
      • Bhutto was “more dangerous” because she was even more vocally Pro-West as well as a woman
    • “Pro-Musharraf forces” are getting the initial blame by some … but my gut leans skeptical
      • The jury is still out on whether this is a net gain or net loss for Musharraf’s interests
      • It certainly feeds the perception that he’s not in control of the country
  • Given their similarities, what are the substantive differences between Musharraf and Bhutto?
  • One key difference was their respective views of the general
    Pakistani population; Musharaff was a bit more of a “realist” ; Bhutto
    presents herself as an “idealist”
    • Musharaff feared that the populism writ large would lead to an illiberal democracy
    • Bhutto was more willing to turn to the electorate to ..
      • lead the country to more democracy (if you think she has Good Intentions)
      • secure more power / perks for herself (if you think she has Bad Intentions despite the lofty rhetoric)
    • By contrast, Musharraf feared that Bhutto’s push for
      “more democracy” would backfire, leading to “less liberalism” rather
      than realizing her (stated) intentions…
    • Perversely, Bhutto’s assassination is a perfect example of
      illiberality that gives Musharaff the license to enact, repressive,
      authoritarian policy.

A commenter in the thread writes,

Benazir Bhutto's manipulation of and embrace by the West probably doomed her. She left Pakistan at only 16 to matriculate at Harvard. From there, on to Oxford. Her stunning physical beauty, coupled with her eloquence in the English language, made her a darling of the Western media and governing elite. Her first electoral victory carried so much hope, and defied convention as a woman took the helm of a Muslim country. It is tragic that the promise was squandered by corruption, cronyism, and heavy-handed governing tactics.

Yet, for all her imperfections, Benazir was probably the best hope for semi-secular governance in Pakistan. She and Musharraf, though bitter personal foes, shared the goals of ensuring that Pakistan did not spiral into chaos at the hands of religious extremists and bridging firm ties with the West. In the wake of Bhutto's assasination, it is not clear that Musharraf will survive much longer.

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She wasn't just loved by the

She wasn't just loved by the West though. I'm in Mumbai, and when news came in to a room (of educated intellectuals) the entire place fell to a hush.

From wikipedia, the PPP is

From wikipedia, the PPP is affiliated with the Socialist International. Nuff'said? I think we're going to hear the old Wilsonian mantra on democracy == good for a whil though.