Cole in Salon on Bush and Musharraf’s Grand Illusion

My article on the Pakistan crisis, “Bush and Musharraf’s Grand Illusion,” is now available online. Excerpt:

‘ In the fall of 1999, as he campaigned for the presidency, George W. Bush was asked by a reporter to name the leader of Pakistan. Bush could not. He famously replied: “The new Pakistani general, he’s just been elected — not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country, and I think that’s good news for the subcontinent.” Although Bush didn’t know Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s name and was confused as to how he got into office, the soon-to-be American president was sanguine about the anti-democratic developments in Pakistan. ‘

Read the whole thing.

See also Barnett Rubin’s final posting in his series from Islamabad, in which he explains the puzzlement of the Pakistani populace as to why the Pakistani military is leaving alone, even encouraging radical Muslims striving for a caliphate in the tribal north, while rounding up lawyers, judges and other secular people in the urban areas.

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