"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


we interrupt this vacation...

As I was driving towards Little Rock late this morning, a text message from my father arrived, giving the news that former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated.

The implications of this are huge; Pakistan is arguably the most strategically important country in the fight against terrorism by Islamic extremists. It is also a nuclear power. The United States very badly needs a stable, cooperative government in Pakistan. This is why we've tolerated the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf, which is anything but democratic.

The Bush administration had focused most of its diplomatic efforts on working out a power-sharing arrangement between Bhutto and Musharraf to ensure that there would be more stability and cooperation within and from Pakistan. Bhutto's assassination puts that progress towards democracy into serious doubt.

The big question is who will take her place as head of the Pakistan People's Party, two weeks before scheduled elections. Aitzaz Ahsan is one of several names being thrown about as a possible replacement. As far as I know, he's still under house arrest. I know his family would appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers.


Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-White said...

The short-term prospects are alarming, but I have hopes for longterm democracy and stability in Pakistan--precisely because of the risks people like Bhutto are willing to take for democracy. Here, we can't be bothered to register to vote! So, our democracy is in grave peril, not from terrorists or a military coup, but from an imperial executive aided and abetted by an apathetic citizenry more interested in "Dancing with the Stars."

Friday, December 28, 2007 2:33:00 PM


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