Friday, December 28, 2007

The end of Bhuttopia

Benazir Bhutto was the great hope of American politicians. She was to replace the uniform-wearing Musharraf as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

We even had Arlen Specter and Patrick (son of Teddy and Joan) Kennedy on their way to a dinner party with Bhutto when the assassination took place. Kennedy invoked the memory of Uncle Jack with the statement that Bhutto was a “profile in courage” after learning of her murder.

But Tony Snow was on the radio last night and explained that Pakistan is much like Iran in the Carter days. Khomeini was the great hope for democracy in 1979 after we cut off the Shah at the knees. The holy man turned out to be wildly popular but also the first of the great terrorists of the Middle East.

The problem with most of the Third World is that there are no great leaders sitting on the bench, waiting for their turn to play. We still don’t seem to understand that there is a power vacuum when you depose a despot.

Why? Because that is how tyrants rule. They are quick to eliminate the competition. And they control the media. And the military. And they can be ruthless.

We are simplistic to believe that the masses want to be a democracy and will rise up to support good leaders. First off, they exist in corrupt societies. Secondly, there are no good leaders to support.

There is an art to tyranny. Americans don’t appreciate a leader who can ride herd on millions of starving peasants and live to tell about it.

So, we either need the DDT or a return to the British Empire model. The DDT (Department of Dirty Tricks) was dismantled by Jimmy Carter in the wake of Watergate. It suddenly became a great sin to work underground in a country, prep a successor, and assassinate the tyrant-in-chief.

And of course the British Empire way was to simply govern the country yourself and work to provide a modicum of civilization to the masses through health care, schools, and cultural events.

Of course those options are archaic and despicable. Having factions running around with their suicide bombers is a much better way of allowing self-determination. And it gets even better when Congress, the President, and every candidate on the stump in Iowa have to put in their two cents about Bhutto and Musharraf. Ah, the curse of CNN.

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