Barnett Rubin on Pakistan

If you are going to read one post on Pakistan this is it.  (Hat tip: Juan Cole).

The key point Rubin makes is that the Bush administration has always seen the conflict in a stark, simplistic, unreal dichotomy between “moderates” and “extremists”–the moderates are pro-American, the extremists not.

However:

The leaders of the Pakistan military, of which Musharraf is a typical example, do not see themselves primarily as “pro-American moderates” battling with “anti-American extremists.” They see themselves as responsible for building a powerful militarized state in Pakistan representing the heritage of Islamic empires in South and Central Asia against the threat from India and the selfish maneuvers of politicians (not necessarily in that order). In the course of doing so, they have enriched themselves and gained control of much of the economy and civilian administration. The military has always aspired to control the judiciary as well, and Musharraf has now restored to that institution the supine illegitimacy that it possessed under General Zia. This means of course that the use of institutional power for private gain by the military is legal (as the judiciary has no power over the military), while similar use of institutional power by civilians is “corruption.”

The military allies with the U.S. because that is the only way to get the weapons and money for their national security project and to prevent the U.S. from aligning with India. It has nothing to do with “moderation.” The “pro-American moderate” Pakistan military has used the “anti-American extremist” jihadis for its national security project.

Rubin also mentions (first time I heard this one) that the Pakistani military was using old techniques  of ballot stuffing to prevent Bhutto’s PPP to win the upcoming elections.

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Published in: on January 2, 2008 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  

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