In foreign affairs, Hillary Clinton is a busybody, just like Bush. If in doubt, consider her reaction to Benazir Bhutto’s predictable assassination and the deepening downturn in Pakistan.
Speaking to a frightened Wolf Blitzer—Hillary is more harridan than presidential—she demanded that the unrest in Pakistan be internationalized, and called on the U.N. to step in and solve the apparent mystery of Bhutto’s death.
When Bhutto was killed in Rawalpindi last month, she had been bobbing up and down from the sunroof of an under-protected, rickety vehicle. This, after an attempt on her life in Karachi back in October. The last attack, like the first, saw scores of people killed. Maybe Musharraf should have kept Bhutto under house arrest for her own good—and for the sake of the many bystanders.
Hillary also recommended that more pressure to deliver democracy be applied to the already besieged President Pervez Musharraf. “Free and fair elections” in Pakistan is how she put it—as though Pervez alone is what prevents the 130 million, mostly tribal and illiterate, people of Pakistan from forming democratic institutions and following the rule of law.
In the tradition of the meddlesome Bush, Hillary is also convinced that the U.S. is obligated to shore-up civil society in Pakistan and address the “root causes” of the seething Muslim Street in that country. By “root-causes” Hillary does not mean Islam, but the three “Ps”: patriarchy, poverty, and powerlessness.
To quote Clinton: “I’ve talked to President Musharraf about the necessity for us to raise the literacy rate, to reach out with healthcare and education that would help the Pakistani people to really concentrate on civil society.” Can you say Nation Building?!
Hillary’s reaction to the slaying of Bhutto confirms how deeply silly she truly is—from the adventure in Iraq she has learned nothing at all about the futility of central planning. Societies are built from the soil up, not from the sky down. And by the people, not the pols, silly.
Forcing democracy down Iraqi gullets—now, that didn’t workout too well, did it? How about in the Palestinian Authority? At our insistence, democratic elections were held in the PA, and voila! The freedom-loving Palestinians voted for Hamas, which the US thereupon boycotted.
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood will likely gain a parliamentary majority once American democrats get the better of Mubarak and muscle him into legalizing the Brotherhood and democratizing the political process.
Be careful what you wish for in Pakistan, Hillary! A new “Pew Global Attitudes Project” reveals that rising resistance to terrorism among Pakistanis has not coincided with positive attitudes toward the US and its “war on terror.” Although down, Pakistani confidence in bin Laden still stands at 38 percent, while only 13 percent back America’s “war on terror.”
“More than 72 percent are [also] very or somewhat worried that the U.S. could become a military threat to their country. And 64 percent name the U.S. as one of the countries posing the greatest potential threat to Pakistan.” Pugnacious posturing from Clinton, Barak Obama, Bill Richardson—and other presidential candidates with “experience” in foreign affairs—does nothing to allay these perceptions among Pakistanis.
American media sentimentalize the reality on the Pakistani ground. The truth is that Musharraf is caught between Scylla and Charybdis. There is indeed a faction of liberals that wants democratic reforms in Pakistan. But among the demonstrators forever punching the air over there are also “Islamists, who resent the military crackdown on extremists.”
There are also ample al Qaida and Taliban sympathizers in the tribal regions and among the Pakistani military and Inter-Services Intelligence. By strong-arming Musharraf, Mrs. Clinton is, if anything, gratifying Bhutto’s likely killers: the al Qaida/Taliban network.
Oddly enough, this was Bhutto’s last wish. In the event of her death, she requested that Musharraf be blamed. In addition to siccing the mobs and the mindless media on Musharraf, Bhutto, whom the same people summarily canonized, bequeathed a messy legacy: During her disastrous two terms in office, she too had cultivated ties with the Taliban in the service of her own regional ambitions. Back then, Bhutto was certainly no democrat, and was mired in scandal, corruption, and perhaps worse. She may have had a hand in the assassination of a brother, who opposed her politics and vied for leadership of the Bhutto-owned Pakistan’s People’s Party.
Put it this way: The PPP has never held a caucus for the peons! In line with the dynastic “democracy” Bhutto practiced, her 19-year-old son is set to succeed her as leader of the party. As the Ottawa Citizen’s David Warren has observed, “she, like every other woman who has risen to power in the region, including a prime minister of India, two in Bangladesh, and now two in Sri Lanka—inherited dynasties founded by powerful men.”
A description that may well apply to Hillary.
© 2008 By Ilana Mercer