A Re­pub­li­can Dic­ta­tor­ship?

Repub­li­cans have gone out of their way to ex­press their dis­dain for en­gag­ing in a part­ner­ship with Pak­istan. Amer­ica is, ob­vi­ously, in trou­ble if the Repub­li­cans gain con­trol.

Southasia - - CONTENTS - By Javed An­sari

Ev­ery Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in the US needs a whip­ping horse. Dwight D. Eisen­hower, a Re­pub­li­can, cam­paigned in 1952 by at­tack­ing “Korea, Com­mu­nism and Cor­rup­tion.” In 1960, Demo­cratic can­di­date, John F. Kennedy flogged the Cold War. In 1968, Re­pub­li­can can­di­date, Richard Nixon took ad­van­tage of the thrash­ing Amer­ica was get­ting in Viet­nam. The ball went back to Demo­cratic can­di­date Jimmy Carter when he won by a nar­row mar­gin while the Repub­li­cans still licked their wounds in the af­ter­math of the Water­gate scan­dal. In 1980, Ay­at­ul­lah Khome­ini and the Iran hostage cri­sis was the tar­get for the Amer­i­can na­tion and brought Ron­ald Rea­gan to the White House.

While Bill Clin­ton rode to power in 1992 over the bad econ­omy that Rea­gan had left be­hind, his li­ai­son with Mon­ica Lewin­sky al­lowed the Repub­li­cans to bounce back in the per­son of Ge­orge W. Bush in 2000. The oc­cur­rence of 9/ 11 and Amer­ica’s fix­a­tion, first with Sad­dam Hus­sein and later with Osama Bin Laden, spilled over into Barack Obama’s term, this time suck­ing in Pak­istan in the af­ter- burn. To­day, this is what the rel­a­tively lit­tle known Re­pub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates are ex­ploit­ing to ride back into the White House. From their ut­ter­ances it seems though that Amer­ica, the self- pro­claimed mother of all democ­ra­cies, is now head­ing to­wards a dic­ta­tor­ship.

Some time back, when a pack of these Re­pub­li­can pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls took part in a TV de­bate, they vexed elo­quent over US for­eign pol­icy. A key tar­get of their di­a­tribe was Pak­istan, a coun­try that has been a US ally al­most from in­cep­tion and has gone be­yond its ca­pa­bil­i­ties and re­sources to as­sist Amer­ica on var­i­ous fronts. It is now re­ceiv­ing the fruit of its labors and loy­al­ties and is de­scribed by Re­pub­li­can politi­cians such as Michele Bach­mann, as a na­tion “that lies, that does ev­ery­thing that you could imag­ine wrong.” In Jon Hunts­man’s opin­ion, Pak­istan is “a na­tion- state that is a can­di­date for fail­ure,” while Rick Perry‘ s views about Pak­istan are that “they’ve showed us time af­ter time that they can’t be trusted.”

Says Newt Gin­grich, ad­dress­ing Pak­istan, “Help us, or get out of the way … but don’t com­plain if we kill peo­ple you’re not will­ing to go af­ter on your ter­ri­tory.” He is ob­vi­ously re­fer­ring to Pak­istan’s re­fusal to at­tack North Waziris­tan de­spite Amer­ica’s in­sis­tence that it hides ter­ror­ists. An­other of the same ilk, Mitt Rom­ney has de­clared that, “we need to bring Pak­istan into the 21st cen­tury – or the 20th cen­tury, for that mat­ter.”

It is in­ter­est­ing to note that the same Re­pub­li­can Party was al­ways known to har­bor slightly more sym­pa­thy for Pak­istan than the Democrats. Dwight Eisen­hower and later Nixon bol­stered Ayub Khan, Ron­ald Rea­gan sup­ported Zia- ul- Haq and Ge­orge W. Bush backed Pervez Mushar­raf. Was this be­cause all these Pak­istani rulers were mil­i­tary men and Asif Zar­dari has no mil­i­tary back­ground ex­cept hav­ing at­tended the Pe­taro Cadet Col­lege? By this yard­stick, per­haps an army gen­eral would have to stage an­other coup and take over the gov­ern­ment in Pak­istan to garner sup­port of the

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