Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mark Steyn: A Final Comment On Bhutto

The one and only Mark Steyn. with one of the best comments I've seen on the Bhutto assassination (emphasis mine):

"Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan had a mad recklessness about it which give today's events a horrible inevitability. As I always say when I'm asked about her, she was my next-door neighbor for a while - which affects a kind of intimacy, though in fact I knew her only for sidewalk pleasantries. She was beautiful and charming and sophisticated and smart and modern, and everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be - though in practice, as Pakistan's Prime Minister, she was just another grubby wardheeler from one of the world's most corrupt political classes.

Since her last spell in power, Pakistan has changed, profoundly. Its sovereignty is meaningless in increasingly significant chunks of its territory, and, within the portions Musharraf is just about holding together, to an ever more radicalized generation of young Muslim men Miss Bhutto was entirely unacceptable as the leader of their nation. "Everyone’s an expert on Pakistan, a faraway country of which we know everything," I wrote last month. "It seems to me a certain humility is appropriate." The State Department geniuses thought they had it all figured out. They'd arranged a shotgun marriage between the Bhutto and Sharif factions as a "united" "democratic" "movement" and were pushing Musharraf to reach a deal with them. That's what diplomats do: They find guys in suits and get 'em round a table. But none of those representatives represents the rapidly evolving reality of Pakistan. Miss Bhutto could never have been a viable leader of a post-Musharraf settlement, and the delusion that she could have been sent her to her death. Earlier this year, I had an argument with an old (infidel) boyfriend of Benazir's, who swatted my concerns aside with the sweeping claim that "the whole of the western world" was behind her. On the streets of Islamabad, that and a dime'll get you a cup of coffee.

As I said, she was everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be. We should be modest enough to acknowledge when reality conflicts with our illusions. Rest in peace, Benazir. "

(Mark Steyn today in NRO's `The Corner')


Anonymous said...

"...she was just another grubby wardheeler from one of the world's most corrupt political classes." This is so true. She may have been among the least bad of alternatives that were available, however, she defintiely was not someone we should admire. All of the media accolades that have been showered on this woman are most definitely not warranted.

I think we can also add to the description of her that she was not a very shrewd politician. Perhaps being away from Pakistan for so long her political instincts grew weak. As an example of her poor politcal instincts, she was more worried about Pervez Musharaf than she was about Al Qaeda. She saw him as her primary threat. She accused him of plotting her death. She even went so far as to write a letter to be read in the event of her death blaming Pervez Musharaf for her untimely death, should it come.

While Musharaf is likely to not be displeased to see her elimated, he was never the primary threat. Had Ms. Bhutto properly understood who her most dangerous political opponents were she might still be alive today.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Poster,
And Happy New year.

I think the US State Department played to her ego to get her to go back to Pakistan, myself.

Anonymous said...

Freedom Fighter

Happy new year to you and yours too!! May God richly bless you and yours with much success and prosperity in the new year and always!!

You could well be right about the state department, however, I don't think she would want to be seen working to closely with these people. If she took the advice of the State Department on any thing, she is an even dumber politician than I thought she was.

Clearly she was not always dumb, after all she was once the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Perhaps beign away from the coutnry and out of politics as long as she was her political instincts became dull or perhaps she began to view politics the way we tend to view it here in the West.

Essentially, if a Westerm politiicans makes a wrong move, he or she loses an election or perhaps they end up in jail on a trumped up charge or perhaps they end up in jail on a legitmate one. Rarely does the politician or members of their family end up dead. This is not so in some parts fo the world, such as the Middle East.

Ms. Bhutto made a wrong move and she ended up dead. Had she recognized her most dangerous enemy was Al Qaeda and not Musharaf she would have likely conducted business differently and she might still be alive. If she were a Western politican, the most likely outcome is only a lost election and perhaps a financial set back.

I think being out of Middle Eastern politics for such a long period caused her to lose her political instincts. If, as you suppose she took advice from the state Department, her political instincts were flawed indeed. From the policies that have been pushed by the State Department, it is clear that they do not understand Middle Eastern politics.

The specific errors that the State Department, the Bush Administration, and others in the US and the West make are as follows. 1.)They assume that Ameerican/Western culture is equal to or even that Islamic culture is superior to our culture. 2.) Terrorism is being conducted by extremists with little or no support from the local populace. If we merely eliminate the terrorists, the Islamists and us will be able to get along in a manner that will be beneficial to all of us. 3.) The primary motivation for the "extremists," as they call them, is past US policy. While past US policy has likely played a major role, it is unwise to ignore the nature of Islam. Most of what passes for policy recommendations seens to ignore the nature of Islam.

These errors among others lead folks to formulate policies that are fundamentally flawed. A way to begin correcting this is to recognize that we are in a battle of civilizations. We must recgnize that while our culutre has flaws that need to be addressed, it is a fundamentally decent culture that deserves to be defended. This is in contrast to the culture of the Islamists. It is a fundamentally flawed cultrue that needs to be taken down and eliminated by any meants possible. Once it is destroyed, we can help them build a better culture much like we helped the Japanese and the Germans at the end of WWII. Maybe we can destroy the culture of the Islamists through non military means but we must be prepared to use every thing at our disposal to destroy that culture. Once it is out of the way, we can replace it with something that is compatible with our continued existence.

Sorry about the length of the post, but there are some silver linnings here. While it is true that we do not fully understand their cutlure. They do not understand ours either. This partially explains the current stale mate we are experiencing. In addition to this, the assaination of Ms. Bhutto presents opportunities.

Her assaination is generally assumed to be a blow to the US. This superficial analysis goes under the false assumption that she was an ally of the US. She was not. She does seem to have been quite popular around the world. If the US and the West handle this properly, it could be used to mobilze people against Islamic terrorists. Also, it presents an opportunity to postpoe elections. This is probably a good idea, as no one can ensure the safety of non-Islamists candidates. Also candidates who are affiliated with Islamic terrorists should not be allowed to run any more than Nazis would be allowed to run for office in post WWII Germany. Postponing elections will give us an opportunity to screen these people out. The terrorists just presented a good opportunity for us to post pone elecitions, as should have been done before the attack on Ms. Bhutto. Whithout this attack it would have been more difficult to justify postponing the elections.