19 February 2008

Bad Day for Dictators

Perves Musharraf was defeated in the Pakistani elections, and Cuba's Fidel Castro finally admitted he was too old and ill to continue playing benevolent dictator.

Maybe democracy will finally succeed in Pakistan. Musharraf was the one who undermined it with his 1999 coup, but apparently the Pakistani populace had gotten a taste of it and likes being able to elect its own leaders. Now we just have to hope that (a) the army behaves itself, and (b) the new government can deal with Pakistan's problems, particularly Muslim fundamentalists distrustful of political liberty, so that it's not too weak and susceptible to another coup.

As for Cuba, nothing's going to change immediately, of course, because Fidel's brother Raul has been in charge for nearly two years. But with the revolutionary figurehead gone, and Raul aging himself, perhaps the day is not too far away when popular sovereignty comes to Cuba.

Of course the US could help that process if we just had a president with the balls to extend diplomatic relations to Cuba. Hordes of American tourists bringing hard cash to the island would increase the local wealth, which usually seems to spur demands for political participation.


Scott Hanley said...

Has there ever been such an utterly failed foreign policy as isolating Cuba has been for the last 45+ years? Aside from invading Russia in the winter, I mean.

James Hanley said...

I don't know if I'd call invading Russia in winter a foreign policy failure, as much as a tactical failure.

But the mere fact that we have to look to examples like that is in itself evidence in support of your point.

James K said...

Invading Russia at all is a tactical and strategic failure. The last guy to do it successfully was Ghengis Khan.

But the embargo is a bad move, all it does is offer a free scapegoat to Cuba's leaders. People blame you guys for domestic policy blunders already, don't make it easier for them.

I do wonder about Castro retirement though. He's an old, sick man who hasn't been seen in quite some time. Add that to the fact he was practically obsessive about talking over the airways before, and it makes me wonder if his retirement isn't really a little more drastic than the party line suggests.

James Hanley said...

"Invading Russia at all is a tactical and strategic failure. The last guy to do it successfully was Ghengis Khan."

That sounds like a challenge!

We is the US. We is beat you down. Russhins dont scare us.