December 29, 2007

FINDING GRANT:

Courageous and liberal, yes – but an unreliable partner for the West (Bronwen Maddox, 12/29/07, Times of London)

As a potential saviour of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was an uncomfortable candidate: dogged by corruption charges that might have resurfaced with new seriousness in Swiss courts in the new year and by a record of calamitous ineffectiveness during her two terms as Prime Minister. [...]

She was the best of an unattractive lineup; Pakistan has never been blessed in its politicians, who represent the worst of its society – feudal and fonder of patronage than principle. Western-educated and female, Ms Bhutto appeared to stand for the liberal values that the West wants to encourage in Pakistan.

But Britain and the US may have been too pragmatic by half in putting such weight on so imperfect a figure, and in hoping that her strengths would outweigh her enormous weaknesses: grandiosity, a sense of destiny that she interpreted as licence to do what she wanted and an indifference to the distinction between the interests of Pakistan and her own. They made light of the unpredictability of her policies; in office, she let public spending and debt rise to unmanageable proportions, and she was ambivalent towards the US and India.


Perhaps it would be helpful to think of America as President Lincoln and Pakistan as the Union command. What is needed is a fighting general who will go into the Tribal areas and take on the Islamicists and it doesn't make much difference who that person is nor their other qualities.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2007 9:14 AM
Comments

Grant's been found, he's just busy with surging through Iraq right now.

Posted by: Palmcroft at December 29, 2007 1:49 PM

No. All wrong.

Once again, the error lies in trying to make the situation over there fit familiar categories.

Not Grant, not even Sherman--when dealing with the Mahdi Army, one needs a Kitchener.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 29, 2007 8:01 PM

Britain lost.

Posted by: oj at December 29, 2007 9:46 PM

Wouldn't we be looking for a Marquis De Lafayette or Baron Von Steuben? (I was going to say T.E. Lawrence, but he didn't win in the end either...)

My somewhat muddled thinking is that our role there is not that of a Grant to Lincoln in holding a country together or a Kitchener trying to hold part of an empire together, but rather, someone from outside a country that helped it thwart an external threat to its existence? The person in question would need to have done it IN SUPPORT OF a local figure who actually did all the heavy lifting and prevailed in the end.

Posted by: Gil Gilliam at December 30, 2007 7:59 AM

Wouldn't we be looking for a Marquis De Lafayette or Baron Von Steuben? (I was going to say T.E. Lawrence, but he didn't win in the end either...)

My thinking is that our role there would not be that of a Grant to Lincoln in holding a country together or a Kitchener trying to hold part of an empire together, but rather, as someone from outside the country that helped it thwart an external threat to its existence?

The example in question would need to have done it IN SUPPORT OF a local figure/ who actually did all the heavy lifting and prevailed in the end.

Posted by: Gil Gilliam at December 30, 2007 8:08 AM

No. They need internal leaders who will fight. Our fighting for them is the problem.

Posted by: oj at December 30, 2007 10:32 AM
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