Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pakistan, Iran 0r De Ja Vu?

Martial law is declared and protestors are herded into jail. An autocratic leader declares that the future of the country depends upon his remaining in power. The United States government urges the leader to modify his approach to governance and move toward democracy. Today, this describes Pakistan, but the more I hear about what's going on in Pakistan, the more I think about the Iran I remember from my youth.

When I was a kid the man in the news was Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran. I have a vague memory of his early days in power - days when he was represented in the papers as a shining example of positive governance in the Middle East. He was Washington's darling.

In 1961 I started college at the University of Iowa where I made a new friend named Mahmoud Zokaie. Mahmoud was an Iranian in his forties and was in the U.S. to get a degree that would undoubtedly give him access to a fine job back home. Mahmoud would tell me about his home, and I would take him to mass with me on Sunday mornings. All was well between us and our countries. Less than 20 years later everything had changed. The Shah fled Iran, his autocracy fell to the religious dictatorship of the Ayatollah Khomeini, and the relationship between Iran and the U.S. went into the toilet it remains in today.

And today Pakistan has taken Iran's place in our history. Once again we are supporting an autocratic leader whose power is slipping away under the demands of an unwilling public. Once again, there is among those people a growing faction of religious fanaticism eagerly chomping at the bit in anticipation of charging onto that country's political scene to impose its particular brand of "holiness" on the inherently secular process of civic governance. This time, though, this faction is already well known to all of us – the Taliban in combination with Al Qaida.

Will our government once again hang onto its pact with the devil in the form of Musharraf or is there any chance that it will see the hand writing on the wall this time and do the hard work necessary to demonstrate to the people of Pakistan and the rest of the world that it truly is more interested in the establishment of democratic governments than in bolstering its own power through alliances with any strong man who will help them mow down our enemies? (Or even just pose as if that's what he's doing.)

Given the track record of BushCo and W's undying loyalty to any incompetent boob who'll bow to him first, (think, "Heckuva job, Brownie".) there is not much question in my mind which way we'll go. There's not much doubt as to the eventual outcome either. Once again, we will have taken official action seen by the administration as essential to our security, but ultimately acting to erode our security by handing control over to those who hate us most.

The key difference between Pakistan and Iran, though, is that 20 years after the debacle in Iran, we are worried that Iran might get the bomb. Thanks to us, Pakistan already has the bomb and has already begun to distribute it to rogue nations. (Check out what Adrian Levy says about W's complicity with Musharraf in slapping A. Q. Kahn's wrist for handing nuclear technology to North Korea and Iran.)

If we haven't managed to blow the world to smithereens by then, watch what's happening in Pakistan 20 years from now. If it isn't similar to today's Iran, I'll either be eating my hat or spinning in my grave.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored. But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

The reason for going was to keep the crude flowing and raise a false flag abroad. – from a poem by Jack Evans titled 3500 Souls - http://www.myspace.com/paralegal_eagle


Lilith Sativa said...

Followed you here from My Space Bob.
I think being here will make it easier for more people to read you. Which is a very good thing!!!!

Anonymous said...

How ironic that the U.S. involved themselves in Iraq to prevent them from acquiring nuclear capabilities and help them attain a democratic government, while in Pakistan, the U.S. involvement was to help Pakistan develop a nuclear program and help a military despot to dismantle democracy. http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/032907O.shtml

Joan said...

I've followed you here to keep up with what I view as an informed and thoughtful comment on the world's most significant events. And I ain't kidding!