My Crush on Musharraf
November 11, 2001 7:26 AM   Subscribe

My Crush on Musharraf
posted by delmoi (15 comments total)
Thanks for that link to a rather enlightening look at Musharraf. He seems cut from a different bolt of cloth than your standard military despot.
posted by MAYORBOB at 7:44 AM on November 11, 2001

Let's get down to the real nitty gritty though...
Toupee or not toupee?
posted by machaus at 7:48 AM on November 11, 2001

"When we realize our shared interest, we squeeze each other's hands like soul sisters."

Musharraf seems like a good guy and all, but ... he is a dictator. It makes the whole article look a little creepy. One more sign of Salon's continuing decline, previously noted in this space.

I vote "not toupee."
posted by coelecanth at 7:56 AM on November 11, 2001

I'd be more impressed if he was a cat person.
posted by MrBaliHai at 8:10 AM on November 11, 2001

I'd say not toupee too...
posted by XiBe at 8:24 AM on November 11, 2001

Seeing as how you asked, not toupee.
posted by MAYORBOB at 8:26 AM on November 11, 2001

Stalin was "Uncle Joe" during WWII; Mussolini made the trains run on time; Musharraf likes dogs. Why is America charmed by uniform-wearing dictators?
posted by Carol Anne at 8:59 AM on November 11, 2001

nice thanks!

reminded me of a wsj article about the shah of iran's son who's also about rapprochement with the west:

"The message from [Iran's] 50 million young is that an investment in the people of Iran and their rightful struggle for secularism and popular sovereignty is the best guarantee against continued regional instability and radicalism emanating from Tehran."

it's also nice to hear that bush may be listening:

"I want him to see that these are real people and to understand how a nation written out of history has come to this. I want Tony Blair to see the film too. But I also want the Taleban to be replaced by education, not by bombs. The Americans will create a new regime — the beards will be shorter, but the oppression of women will remain."

btw, here's a cache of the official movie site. the db seems to be messed up. (via SE :)

oh and don't forget the men!? (article linking sexual repression with terrorism via boingboing :)
posted by kliuless at 9:12 AM on November 11, 2001

Salon is eeecky.
posted by solistrato at 9:57 AM on November 11, 2001

For what it's worth, Pakistan has a staggered political history -- alternating democratic and military regimes. It's almost clockwork, and something about the culture has allowed it to persist for all its seeming improbability. As a result, the citizenry seem to have a somewhat bemused but otherwise unruffled attitude toward dictatoriships.
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:18 AM on November 11, 2001

Funny how Musharraf is a good guy now, here's a good observation from an article in the Toronto Sun I found from Robotwisdom.

Pakistan - on Sept. 10 it was a borderline terrorist state run by a BAD military dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who backed the Taliban and had lots of EVIL Islamic friends. By Sept. 15, however, Pakistan had become a heroic ally in the crusade against terrorism. Pakistan shamelessly ditched its old ally, the Taliban, and handed over the country for use by the U.S. military. Musharraf, now GOOD, is hailed in the West for courage and vision, though 88% of his voiceless people heartily disagree. Before getting somewhat elected, President Bush couldn't even name Pakistan's leader when asked by a reporter. Now, Bush and Musharraf are new best friends.
posted by bobo123 at 12:46 PM on November 11, 2001

Good grief, is that a melodramatic article. In point of fact Pakistan has been a close regional ally of the United States for a long time, most especially cultivated after we began to lose Iran and during a period when India fancied itself the chief power of the "non-aligned" world and bought Soviet arms. Pakistan has had a "staggered" history, but it's all been secular -- no nutcase mullah government, ever. The military is descended directly from the British, and many of the top officers have trained at Sandhurst. English is spoken just about everywhere. Musharraf was given the cold shoulder by the US, which really burned them (they were especially angered when Clinton buzzed through the region, and spent a day with India's PM, whom he publicly hugged, but only hours with Musharraf, with whom he shook hands; this was seen as insulting), because they felt they had been reliable over the years despite differences. There had been particularly close association between the ISI and CIA developed during the Afghan-Soviet war. The fact that the CIA was blindsided by Pakistan's nuclear tests was seen as particularly jaw-dropping. The close relationship continued despite the diplomatic chill; the ISI chief was reported to have been in Washington for talks with counterparts and top pols in the week before Sep. 11.

Indeed, many see Musharraf's secular, pro-Western government as more liberalizing than his democratically elected predecessor. The Clinton administration's view that they needed to be punished for achieving what they see as a new level of stability through nuclear parity with India was, perhaps, shortsighted.

Certainly it should not be surprising that America's relationship with Pakistan changed so dramatically. Our national interests in the region changed dramatically on September 11, not through some white paper that some anonymous functionary issued to change all the propaganda.
posted by dhartung at 2:21 PM on November 11, 2001

Musharraf has grown on me ever since the Agra Summit, when he exposed Vajpayee to be an untrustworthy snake; which has frustrated him for a long while. He has played all the cards smartly. He took advantage of America's 'new friendship' to get the sanctions lifted off of his country, and now finally might get his 28 F-16s. He has said all the right things and has repeatedly warned India not to 'jimmy' things up. I liked his candidness when a BBC (or ITN) reporter asked him why he had closed his borders to the Afghan refugees, he matter-of-factly replied that refugees are expensive and he'd accept all the refugees if America, England and 'the West' would pay $150.00 per refugee per month (or week/day) until they all went back.

It's the straight-talk that makes him appealing. Somewhat of a 'John McCain meets Bill Clinton.' It definitely has been fun watching Musharraf transform from 'general' to 'president'* in the American media.
posted by tamim at 3:42 PM on November 11, 2001

Indeed, many see Musharraf's secular, pro-Western government as more liberalizing than his democratically elected predecessor.

Exactly, it seems some people prefer a corrupt goverment that puts up a facade of democracy than a military ruler who helped overthrow a very unpopular regime. I wouldn't be surprised if Musharraf started allowing elections in the next 10 or so years.

I'm betting toupee.
posted by skallas at 9:34 PM on November 11, 2001

Here we go again: after the coup, *General* Musharraf was 'bad'. Now, *President* Musharraf is our 'friend'. Let's see how long it takes before he's 'bad' again.
If you think 'silence on the streets' of Pakistan is a sign that the public is behind him you're sadly mistaken. Going out and protesting in the streets takes time, energy, and in a country like Pakistan, makes you a potential target. The vast majority of people sitting in their homes share the sentiments of those in the streets.
I lived there for seven years, most if not all of them under martial law. The current protests are more vociferous (at the very least they are comparable) than those under previous 'leaderhip'. I can't _believe_ the guy drinks alcohol - if that's true there are probably a lot of people gunning for him. I didn't have any more or less respect for Musharraf than I did for any of his predecessors, but this alcohol thing destroys any credibility he had in my eyes. I don't expect you all to understand. :)
posted by omar at 5:32 AM on November 12, 2001

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