Pakistan Is Getting Interesting And Obama Might Have Shaken Things
Pakistan Prepares for Former Prime Ministers’ Return New York Times a Supreme Court ruling that threw open the coming parliamentary campaign to all political players. ...... Mr. Sharif’s pending return led another opposition leader and former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, to reschedule her own return ahead of his ..... the overwhelming desire in Pakistan was for democracy and a free choice in elections this fall. ..... the president should sit down with the leaders of the main political parties — which could be as few as five people — and agree on a caretaker government to prepare for parliamentary elections. ..... free and fair elections are the best option for calming the public mood and stemming a drift toward extremism ..... eight years on, the biggest political players challenging General Musharraf are the same as a decade ago: Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Sharif. ....... Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Sharif remain the most popular political leaders by far, and whether or not they are personally tainted, their parties are pragmatic, centrist groupings that are the West’s most natural allies ........ the participation of Mr. Sharif and Ms. Bhutto would draw voters away from the religious parties ....... Mr. Sharif could be expected to campaign on an anti-American, anti-Musharraf platform, and would draw those who would otherwise be attracted to the religious parties, but as one of the country’s richest industrialists, he would lead a government that was pro-business and open to the United States, India and the global economy ...... Mr. Iqbal, the associate of Mr. Sharif, said that the war on terror demands a political solution, and that only a return to democratic rule can make that possible. “There has to be a competing alternate political platform,” he said. “You can only get that through the democratic process.”
Don't quote me on this yet, but I think Barack Obama's recent remarks against Musharraf might have played a small role in this tremendously positive development in Pakistan. Benazir will be back. A strong, smart woman with a clear sense for social justice, a clear commitment to the poor and their upliftment might soon be Prime Minister of Pakistan. In a matter of months.
And Barack is not even president yet. He did not even send in the military to spread democracy in Pakistan. He did not send any money. All he did was as a would be president, he took a clear stand against a Third World dictator. And that dictator is about to be pushed out the door. That is what I am talking about.
The difference between Barack and Bush is with Barack you get Benazir.
A dictator - any dictator - can not be a US ally on the war on terrorism. That applies to Musharraf, that applies to the Saudi king, to Mubarak, that applies to all unelected Arab leaders. If noone elected you, count your days. Count your years. You will be shown the door.
Barack's public berating of Musharraf emboldened the Supreme Court of Pakistan. And the Supreme Court is now making it possible for Pakistan's last two democratically elected Prime Ministers to come back home from exile.
This is what a would be American president with brains can do. This is not the power of the US military. This is not the power of the US dollar. This is the power of the American presidency, the American democracy. Someone elected by the American people can bring about a positive change like this one just by making the right noise. Imagine how much more Barack can do as a president breathing down the necks of small game Third World dictators on world TV. Face to face. Pushing his finger into their chests. Staring them down. Publicly berating them for their lousy human rights records. Publicly saying hello to their dissident opponents who might be working to launch democracy movements.
I have long maintained the only true way to win the War On Terrorism is by ensuring a total spread of democracy in all Arab countries. And Pakistan is well positioned to help with that. Pakistan is huge. It is not as big as India, but it is huge. It is bigger than Britain and France put together. Pakistani democracy is Muslims voting. You want Pakistan to infect all Arab countries.
One Billion Muslims, 10,000 Al Qaeda
There are more than a billion Muslims on the planet. Only 10,000 of them are Al Qaeda. Bush has killed more than 150,000 innocent people in Iraq. If it is wrong for the Al Qaeda to kill 3,000 innocent Americans, it is wrong for America to kill 150,000 innocent Iraqis. The Iraqi people or their leadership had nothing to do with 9/11. The war on Iraq has been a criminal act.
Don't Insult The Intelligence Of The Arab Street
It is not possible for you to be best friends with Musharraf, and the Saudi king, and Mubarak and still have the Arab street believe you are out for democracy.
W Writes A Book On Vietnam
Let Me Get This Straight
Engaging Third World Dictators
What Obama Said On Pakistan
Flatten It Out
The McCain Doctrine: Keep The Swamp, Keep The Mosquitoes
Presidential Primary Reform
MyDD :: Primary Reform and the California Plan ..... This system features a schedule consisting of ten two-week intervals, during which randomly selected states may hold their primaries. This 20-week schedule is the approximate length of the traditional primary season....... In the first interval, a randomly determined combination of states with a combined total of eight congressional districts would hold their primaries, caucuses or convention. This is approximately equal to the total number of congressional district in Iowa (5) and New Hampshire (2), thus preserving door-to-door "retail politicking." ...... Any state or combination of states amounting to a total of eight congressional districts could be in the first round of primaries and caucuses. This could include such ethnically diverse jurisdictions as American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Arizona, and Maryland....... The widest possible political debate would be fostered by this system
In The News
Dem Rivals Rap Clinton on Terror Comment Washington Post her comment that a terror attack before the election would help the Republicans. .... I think I am better able to handle things I have no control over .... Bill Richardson said in a statement, "We shouldn't be thinking about terrorism in terms of its domestic political consequences, we should be protecting the country from terrorists." ...... Clinton campaign spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said Friday night, "Senator Clinton was making clear that she has the strength and experience to keep the country safe."
Clinton: Best to Deal With Terror Attacks
Democrats set to crack down on Florida bid for early primary
Brzezinski Grants Obama the "Upper Hand" Washington Post Zbigniew Brzezinski. The 79-year-old former national security adviser announced today on Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt" that he was supporting the junior senator from Illinois for president. .... Obama "recognizes that the challenge is a new face, a new sense of direction, a new definition of America's role in the world" ..... rejected the notion that Hillary Clinton is more experienced in foreign affairs than Obama. "Being a former first lady doesn't prepare you to be president .... "What's the hang-up about negotiating with the Syrians or with the Iranians?" Brzezinski said. "What it in effect means" is "that you only talk to people who agree with you." .... "There is a need for a fundamental rethinking of how we conduct world affairs. And Obama seems to me to have both the guts and the intelligence to address that issue and to change the nature of America's relationship with the world." ...... Obama already had the support of former Clinton national security adviser Anthony Lake.
Brzezinski Offers Support for Obama
Nepal Rules Out Maoist-UML Unification Prospects Himalayan Times
Hanoi fires salvo at Bush's comments MSNBC an assertion many Vietnamese see as a gross oversimplification of the region's complex and tragic history ...... Vietnam was "an unjustified and a wrong war in the first place so to start analysing things only from the withdrawal of US troops is really puzzling", she said. "The root of the problem is not the withdrawal, it's the very fact of starting up the war in the first place." ...... As Asia's second-fastest growing economy, Vietnam is today a powerful magnet for foreign investment, with the US its largest single trading partner and a focus for growing bilateral co-operation. ...... Ms Ninh believes the US has failed to learn the lessons of Vietnam. .... "I think the US has no choice [in Iraq] but to withdraw – what good can itdo by staying longer?" she said.
US Bomb Kills 3 British Soldiers in Afghanistan New York Times
Pushing for a New Leader in Iraq ABC News President Bush's former envoy to Iraq, Ambassador Robert Blackwill, is running a major behind-the-scenes lobbying push for former Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi — who seeks to remove and replace current Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. ...... Allawi, who lived in exile for decades in London, was essentially appointed interim prime minister by the Bush administration, though he was defeated in the 2005 Iraqi elections. ...... Allawi was, until recently, funded by the CIA .... an open question in this tale of Beltway intrigue what Allawi is getting for that money
Bank of China Reports Heavy Exposure to Subprime Crisis
China Gets Internet Companies to Sign 'Self-Discipline' Agreement
Should CIOs Take Google Seriously? InformationWeek young people are enamored of the potential of online services, like those from Amazon.com, Salesforce.com, or Google, which recently introduced its Google Apps Premier Edition, a set of software-as-a-service offerings that includes e-mail, calendar, word processing, and spreadsheet capabilities, among others. ..... the next-generation communication and collaboration tools they need to manage electronic communications, share and publish information, and stay connected while on the go ..... the potential efficiencies and cost savings implicit in the software-as-a-service model.
David Beckham urged to slow down by Galaxy Telegraph.co.uk LA Galaxy chief executive Alexei Lalas is pondering the wisdom of the 32-year-old continuing to make himself available for England's friendly fixtures. ..... Beckham is expected to rack up a nearly staggering 78,000 air miles over the next three months to honour his club and country commitments .... Despite flying back to Los Angeles in time to play a full 90 minutes against Chivas, Beckham could not prevent Galaxy from falling to a 3-0 defeat against their local rivals. He was also involved in an ugly spat with Jesse Marsch following a late challenge by the Chivas midfielder. ..... With Beckham clearly struggling to overcome the ankle injury that has dogged him since his move to California, Galaxy coach Frank Yallop was forced to admit that the former Manchester United midfielder should not have been selected. .... "At the end, he looked a bit hobbled and he should have been rested."