[Marxism] Pakistan Crackdown Slows Bush's Freedom March (WSJ)
walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Nov 5 04:04:34 MST 2007
Just as Turkey's military attack on Iraqi Kurdistan tends to
undercut Washington's claims about Iranian intervention in
Iraq, so Musharaff's declaration of martial law, which the US
will accept, further undercuts US claims that it would move
to normalize relations with Cuba if the island took steps to
political forms acceptable to the United States. And even the
WALL STREET JOURNAL is compelled to acknowledge another fact:
Washington's blockade of Cuba has succeeded in all but denying
the U.S. any influence in Cuba as it seamlessly moves from
the "Castro regime" forward to the "Castro regime" <g> while,
in fact, public discussion and debate inside of Cuba is now
occurring at a more advanced level than it has before since
Raul's call for public discussion on the island's numerous
problems has been picked up and carried foward regularly:
"In Cuba, too, the administration has watched unhappily as
a transfer of power has occurred between ailing dictator
Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul, with little indication
that political liberalization is likely."
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR ALSO WEIGHS IN:
EDITORIAL: When an anti-terror ally fails:
EMERGENCY RULE: MUSHARRAF'S LAST GRAB FOR POWER?
Meanwhile, in Islamamad, the Cuban ambassador explains how
Washington's efforts to isolate the island have failed:
WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 5, 2007
Pakistan Crackdown Slows
Bush's Freedom March
Fears of Instability
Hopes for Democracy
By JOHN D. MCKINNON and NEIL KING JR.
November 5, 2007; Page A5
WASHINGTON -- President Bush's vaunted "freedom agenda," using U.S.
aid, influence and example to advance political liberty around the
globe, suffered one of its worst setbacks this weekend when Gen.
Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan.
As recently as June, Mr. Bush sought to reinvigorate the initiative
in an emotional speech in Prague to a gathering of renowned
dissidents and freedom fighters from around the world. "Expanding
freedom is more than a moral imperative -- it is the only realistic
way to protect our people in the long run," Mr. Bush said then.
"Governments accountable to their people do not attack each
other....Young people who can disagree openly with their leaders are
less likely to adopt violent ideologies."
Mr. Bush praised Pakistan in those remarks, along with Egypt and
Saudi Arabia, for taking "some steps to expand liberty and
transparency." But he added they "have a great distance still to
Now Mr. Musharraf's crackdown -- which appeared to catch
administration officials by surprise -- has dramatically underscored
how much Mr. Bush's freedom march has slowed, and in a few cases gone
Administration officials downplayed the setback for their democracy
movement, which the president announced in his second-term inaugural
address in 2005. "This is a long-term commitment, like bringing
freedom to Eastern Europe" during the Cold War, said White House
spokesman Gordon Johndroe. "It's going to take a while and can't be
measured by daily events."
. What's Happening: Bush's "freedom agenda" is eroded by emergency
rule in Pakistan.
. What it Means: Greater worries over security and stability in
places such as Pakistan and Afghanistan.
. What's Ahead: White House says it isn't giving up on hopes for
advancing democracy in Pakistan and elsewhere.
Still, with little more than a year to go in his term, the
president's once-lofty hopes for expanding world freedom increasingly
are being replaced by fears over security and stability. This is true
not only in Pakistan, but also in other trouble spots where the U.S.
has been deeply involved, such as Afghanistan, Iraq and the
The White House condemned Mr. Musharraf's move, but made it clear it
is taking a wait-and-see attitude at least for now and it isn't
planning retaliation. Speaking to reporters in Israel, Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice urged "a prompt return to the constitutional
course." But officials suggested that they wouldn't take immediate
action to reduce the flow of U.S. aid to Islamabad, which has totaled
more than $10 billion since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Mr. Bush is aware of the importance of avoiding action that
destabilizes a country that possesses both a nuclear-weapons arsenal
and a virulent Islamist extremist movement. The administration's mild
reaction also is being influenced by worries about the future of
neighboring Afghanistan, where political and security gains are under
increasing threat from the Taliban extremists operating from
Pakistan's northwestern tribal regions.
"The reality is that we can't operate in Afghanistan without
Pakistan's military cooperation," said George Perkovich, an expert
on the region at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for
The White House fears that Afghanistan's future could be less secure
than Iraq's when Mr. Bush leaves office, in part because of the
situation in Pakistan. Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan also lacks the
natural resources that might encourage developed countries to commit
to a long-term involvement.
The emergency declaration in Pakistan could make cooperation with the
U.S. more difficult, by distracting the army from its antiterrorism
work, said Teresita Schaffer, a South Asia expert and former
ambassador to Sri Lanka. She termed Mr. Musharraf's move
"embarrassing" for the administration. "Soon after we start sounding
as if the democracy message affects Pakistan, this happens," she
U.S. rhetoric focused more and more on democracy in Pakistan over the
past year, as Mr. Musharraf became less popular, according to Rick
Barton, an international development expert at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies. But most U.S. aid to Pakistan
over the last five years has gone to the military, with only token
support for other purposes. That has fueled an impression among many
Pakistanis that the U.S. has long been conflicted about how hard to
push back against the military that remains the center of political
In other regions, too, the limits of America's ability to sell
democracy are evident. In Russia, for instance, President Vladimir
Putin is prohibited from seeking another term in office. But now he
is considering taking over the prime minister's post next year -- a
position from which he would likely continue to exert control.
In Cuba, too, the administration has watched unhappily as a transfer
of power has occurred between ailing dictator Fidel Castro and his
brother, Raul, with little indication that political liberalization
But administration aides said it is too early to write off Mr. Bush's
freedom initiative. Mr. Musharraf's move was "disappointing and
discouraging, but let's see where this goes before making judgments
as to the freedom agenda," said Mr. Johndroe. He pointed to other
places where freedom is gaining ground, such as Congo, where
democratic elections recently were held. The administration also is
making a strong push for action to weaken the military dictatorship
--Yochi J. Dreazen contributed to this article
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