Three things happened on Thursday that changed the world.
The victorious Pakistan People’s Party, now the largest in the Pakistani lower house of parliament, has reached a deal for a coalition with two other parties. One is the Muslim League-N, loyal to former PM Nawaz Sharif, which has a quarter of seats in the federal legislature. The other is the Awami National Party, a Pushtun (Pathan) secular nationalist party. The coalition is explicitly an alliance against Pervez Musharraf, the longtime military dictator of the country, who is backed by Bush and Cheney. It is hard to see how this coalition will cohabit with Musharraf, now the civilian president.
Meanwhile the White House and the State Department appear to be confusing the Pakistani public by taking opposite stances on what needs to be done.
Nawaz Sharif, a junior partner in the emergent coalition, again called Thursday for Pervez Musharraf to step down. I think it will be hard for Sharif to let go of that aspiration. The danger is that it may bring the army in.
Note that Neoconservative pundits kept telling us that there was something deeply wrong with Muslims for protesting when they were kicked or expelled, saying that look, the Serbs have been harmed by US policies but they don’t go around attacking US embassies. I guess they’ll have to find a new argument.
And given that the Serbs are Eastern Orthodox Christians, will the Republican Party and Fox Cable News now start fulminating against “Christofascism?”
Third, Clinton “ only managed only a draw” in the debate with Obama She needed to fluster him into saying something that he should not. She failed. He looked strong, confident and presidential. It seems unlikely now that she can overcome his lead in pledged delegates.
It is a whole new world, but there are great dangers lurking out there–for the Balkans, for South Asia. And, the stability of Iraq is extremely shaky (see below).