Without wading into the fight between Obama
and Clinton over Pakistan, I do want to note one aspect of Sen. Clinton's comments at the MSNBC
debate. Clinton noted:
"Well, I do not believe people running for president should engage in hypotheticals
and it may well be that the strategy we have to pursue on the basis of actionable intelligence -- but remember we've had some real difficult experience with actionable intelligence... But I think it is a very big mistake to telegraph that and to destabilize the Mushareff
regime, which is fighting for its life against Islamic extremists, who are in bed with al
And remember, Pakistan has nuclear weapons. The last thing we want is to have al
like followers in charge of Pakistan and having access to nuclear weapons. So, you can think big, but remember, you shouldn't always say everything you think if you're running for president because it can have consequences across the world, and we don't need that right now."
The piece of this that worries me is the equation of Musharraf v Islamic Fundamentalists. In reality the support of military dictators in Pakistan always seems to lead to a spike in fundamentalism. There is no question that since the US backed Musharraf has been in power, he has blocked out the democratic parties and allowed the fundamentalists to grow in strength. That he is now "fighting back" says more about his instincts for self preservation. He still shows little sign of giving up power, letting democratic elections go forward and allowing the fundamentalists to be beaten at the ballot box.