Saturday, October 09, 2004

Afghanistan, Iraq, US and lastly Pakistan

Afghanistan went through with its first election in a long long time. And as expected they ended in a lot of controversy. Having witnessed elections in Pakistan, I know that when the international media calls it controversial, on the ground it's outrageous. Lots of candidates are calling for a re-election, the chances for which are slim. International donor agencies won't be interested in the plight of local candidates that have no foreign friends. Get out on the first oppurtunity without giving a fig about what is left behind; nothing new there, Afghan people have seen it before.
And in it somewhere, there is also a lesson for Iraq. For any government to be accepted as legit, the security situation has to improve dramatically. What will stop the widespread terror from keeping people in their homes rather than come out to vote? Will America be able to guide Iraqis to refuse the calls of insurgents and vote, considering this is the population's first foray with democracy?And if Iraq's own security forces are not ready enough to curb violence, everyone disgruntled with the administration will come out with accusations of foreign manipulation.
Kerry proposed that he will put pressure on the Middle Eastern governments for more cooperation in Iraq. It sounds really good in a speech minus the word coalition, which has been thrown around so much, it has morphed its meaning to co-conspirators. Why would the ME governments get involved in a quagmire, that the world's best military cant get out of? And how would he pressure them when they are riding the high of current oil prices? Saudi Arabia can comfortably claim that it is busy with internal matters (i.e. the hunting down of Alqaeda, not the municipal elections that they readily promised while sweating under American pressure).
Doesn't make a lotta sense, and if you've been following the Democrats-Republicans musical chairs game, nothing does. With slow job growth and heat running out of consumer spending, the US economic revival doesnt seem like a long term trend.
Meanwhile, General Musharraf has put the bill to parliament for extension of his uniform duties and the civilian charge. A civilian parliamentarian putting forward a bill to extend an army general's command. Who says One man cant accomplish much... In Pakistan, our generals seem to single-handedly guide the nation towards posperity, religion and (this time)modernism. Whatever the flavor of the day might be, served with a straight face, no thank-you's, by men in uniform. If they added friendly smiles & milkshakes, McDonalds would get a run for its money.