Election Trouble for US: Turkey and Pakistan
Electoral politics in the Muslim world continue to produce results troubling to the policies of the Bush administration. On Monday it was announced in Pakistan that the Pakistan People’s Party and the United Islamic Council had reached an accord allowing them to attempt to form a government. The PPP ceded the prime ministership to Fazlur Rahman, a notorious far-right fundamentalist who supports the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Other major posts would go to the PPP.
It is not clear that a PPP/MMA government will really come to be. The rival Muslim League (QA) also claims that it can form a government, and is wooing the semi-fascist party for Urdu speakers, the MQM (United National Movement) as a junior partner in government to shore up its claims. Presumably Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the military dictator, will ask the Muslim League (QA) to form a government rather than the PPP. Any such government, however, would have a razor thin parliamentary majority, would depend on the good will of a gaggle of independents, and could easily fall, requiring new elections or a return to martial law. If the PPP/MMA coalition did come to power, it would be very bad news for the US.
In Turkey, with 18% of precincts reporting as of this writing, the Islamist Justice and Development Party (Ak) was getting 35 percent of the vote. The current ruling party is doing poorly and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit may not even be reelected to his parliamentary seat. The JDP is opposed to a US war on Iraq, though it says it will respect United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The glib rhetoric about spreading democracy in the Middle East coming out of the hawkish corners of the Bush administration has painted a world in which more Muslim democracy would equal less anti-Americanism. Such a principle has not even held in Germany, and is obviously even less valid in the Muslim world. The lesson is not that democracy is bad, or that Muslims should be denied it. It is that unilateralist American wars in the region will be unpopular, and that unpopularity will show up at the polls whenever it is allowed to. People in the Middle East know what colonialism looks like, and they recognize the Wolfowitz plan for them as neocolonialism.