What Can Red, White & Blue Do For You?
Suddenly, everyone's an expert on Pakistan, or at least a mourner of Benazir Bhutto, who, for some, is swiftly becoming the Princess Di of the Near East. And, naturally, the chaos in Pakistan prompts the Smart Folk stateside to scrunch their brows and ponder, What should we do? How does this affect us? Because, in the final analysis, Bhutto's murder and Pakistan's corruption are all about the United States. Just like everything else.
This shameless narcissism now extends to Iowa, where the leading candidates jostle for the right to stand on Bhutto's corpse and appear presidential. Saint Obama seized the moment as soon as he could, playing a bit of "I told you so" in reference to his belligerent, ignorant promise to get "tougher" with Pakistan, which might require a unilateral U.S. military strike. Yep, that's just what Pakistan needs -- more interference from the U.S., bolstered by a cruise missile here and there, or at least the threat of attack. That approach has worked beautifully so far. Just ask Benazir Bhutto, who trusted the U.S. to have her back. But then, she was dealing with John Negroponte, around whom the stench of mass graves has long lingered.
I cede ground to my publisher and comrade Tariq Ali, who writes of his friendship and many disagreements with Bhutto in today's Guardian. Also, friend Manan Ahmed, whose site I've added to the roll. A bit of fresh air amid all the Pakistan-on-the-brink talk.