Saturday, December 29, 2007

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Odds and ends while I'm off the grid

Greetings from the future. While I can't reveal my exact location, I can confirm that, where I'm typing this, it's likely a day later than where you are likely reading this post.

A few links of note before I go off the grid again:

1) I have an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times that is excerpted from my longer National Interest essay, "Foreign Policy Goes Glam" -- which, I'm glad to say, is now available online in its entirety.

2) While I'm at The National Interest's site, I see that they have collected some interesting information about each candidate's foreign policy advisors.

3) Benazir Bhutto's assassination. Lots of speculation here, but Anatol Lieven's analysis in TNI Online seems depressingly accurate. This section stands out in particular:

She was a populist aristocrat, with all that means in terms of grace under pressure, presence of style and absence of substance; and her party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has long been a dynastic party, not a modern mass party with a common and credible program. For that reason it is unlikely to survive the death of the last adult and politically credible representative of the Bhutto dynasty.

In the long run, the decay of the PPP will benefit both the Pakistani army and the Islamists: The army, because it will be able to bring bits of the PPP into government through offers of jobs and patronage—something that Musharraf has already done quite successfully in recent years. This will greatly help the military to put together coalition governments which the army will control from behind the scenes.

The Islamists will stand to benefit because if the PPP decays or disappears altogether, only the Islamists will remain as a political force promising reform of Pakistan’s deeply corrupt, unjust and incompetent governing system. The PPP’s promise to do this may have become more and more obviously hollow over the years, especially during Ms Bhutto’s two corrupt and unsuccessful terms as prime minister—and this was reflected in the PPP’s decline in the public opinion polls.

All the same, the poor of Pakistan had not completely forgotten her father’s vow to bring them “clothing, food and shelter”. No other politician in Pakistan can possibly offer this with a straight face—least of all Nawaz Sharif, with his roots and support among the industrialists of Punjab. So anyone who really wants radical change (as opposed to incremental change stemming from economic growth) will now have nowhere to go but the Islamists.

4) Megan Mcardle is having an awful lot of fun with Ron Paul and his online denizens, which culminates in this post.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go see a man about seeing a glacier.

posted by Dan on 12.29.07 at 02:58 PM


Franz Joseph or Fox?

posted by: Deepish Thinker on 12.29.07 at 02:58 PM [permalink]

You forgot to close your italics tags....

posted by: Denver Lawyer on 12.29.07 at 02:58 PM [permalink]

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