04 November 2007

The day after the recoup


The New York Times says that this is the latest disaster for the Bush administration (and, adds the BBC, the British). Peter Howard seems to agree. Indeed, the state of emergency makes Bush's support for Musharraf look unfortunate if not tremendously foolish. But isn't all of that a little beside the point?

This is probably a good time to worry first and foremost not about how X crisis in Y third world nominally-democratic autocracy affects the fortunes of Western governments. (Though, I can't help adding, the contradiction between what the White House and 10 Downing Street want and the reality in Pervez Musharraf's state of emergency does highlight quite elegantly the remarkable tension facing sovereignty today - a subject that's the quotidian whipping boy of this particularly unimaginative blogger).

We might be mildly concerned that this is at some level a nuclear crisis. We might wonder where Benazir Bhutto will stand in all of this, and how Musharraf will react to her reaction. We might even wonder whether Musharraf will get through the state of emergency (or, at least, whether a mildly democratic Pakistan will get through it). We might want to ask Bruce BdM to figure out how it's all going to go down. All this before speculating on how much this damages Z or W Western government.


Luke said...

It's typical of the Western media to navel-gaze when the chips are down. Surely there's no better tanglibe evidence that the hegemony of Orientalist discourse is still alive and well.

But the point everyone seems to miss is in some ways the most glaring: if states possessing nuclear weapons and restive populations hostile to the West are dangerous, why has the international community, and in particular the United States, dealt Musharraf a free hand for the last eight years?

It's a rhetorical question. I already know the answer. But in some ways, it points up why, indeed, the latest developments show the bankruptcy of current Anglo-American foreign policy.

Aldous said...

Luke, you always out-polemicize me.

Luke said...

I'm not sure that's a good thing - for me, anyway!

Maybe I will try for a jeremiad next time. I haven't rolled one of those out in a while...