Monday, February 26, 2007
positive scene is a must, without friendship there is no trust:
My buddy and fellow Muckraker Paul Kiel points to an interesting squib in today's account of Dick Cheney's parley with Pervez Musharraf. Cheney raised the specter of the Democratic Congress cutting off aid to Pakistan unless Musharraf starts cracking down on al-Qaeda in Waziristan. What's up with that?

It's a smart play by Cheney. No foreign country's leadership straight-up fears and hates the Democrats like Pakistan. And from the perspective of the Pakistani military, it makes sense. There you are, in the 1980s, working out this kick-ass partnership with the Reagan administration to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan via the CIA station in Peshawar. Not only did you get a proxy regime in Afghanistan (after a while) and a whole bunch of western aid, but you also got some F-16s to deliver a nuclear payload to your Indian adversary if you so chose. (Bush the Elder actually stopped that sale, but whatever.)

Then the Democrats come to power, and all you hear about is nuclear proliferation and getting sanctioned. Steve Coll recounts in Ghost Wars how a State Department official basically ordered around then-President Benazir Bhutto. On top of all that, there's a drift toward India. Not without good reason, Richard Armitage once described Pakistan as being nervous about treated like "a dixie cup" by the U.S. -- in other words, used and then disposed of. Luckily, the GOP comes back to power, and after an early period of threatening you, you get a pass on the A.Q. Khan proliferation network, Major Non-NATO Ally status, and even those F-16s you've wanted forever. You'd see the Democrats as the root of all evil, too. Cheney's on solid ground to exploit this.
--Spencer Ackerman