30 December 2007

Pity Pakistan

In grad school (political science) I had some colleagues who openly doubted whether democracy was the best political system. Of course if you don't have democracy, then you have the right to assassinate your political opponents.

And there's Pakistan...a country where the people long for democracy, but the tyrants aren't accountable to the people.

The U.S.'s relationship with Pakistan is a mixed bag. On the one hand, having them on our side (however tentatively) as we fight al Qaeda is a good thing, as is keeping good relationships with both of the subcontinent's mutually antagonistic nuclear powers. On the other hand, our coziness with them as we try to bring democracy to Muslim countries is so self-evidently hypocritical that it undermines our efforts to be a "shining beacon on a hill."

This isn't to say that Musharraf's government killed Bhutto. It very well may not have been them. But it is someone who, like Musharraf, doesn't like democracy because it means they don't get to control.

And that's the reason my grad-school colleagues didn't like democracy--to them it meant that sometimes the public made the wrong decisions and didn't give control to the right people. But until you're willing to accept being in the losing minority sometimes, you're not ready for democracy. Most people in the United States, despite stupid claims like "George Bush (or Bill Clinton) is not my president, are willing to accept that. It's a tragedy that a handful of Pakistani's aren't.

Pakistan, the hearts of democrats the world 'round are with you.

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