Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pakistan proves dictators make lousy allies

from The Age of Australia

General Musharraf's always shaky credentials as an effective ally have been laid bare with this week's admission that about 300 soldiers have been taken hostage by pro-Taliban militants in a tribal region near the Afghan border without a shot being fired ... In 2002, The Age urged that the general be held to his undertaking to restore civilian rule that year and warned against delusions of the sort that propped up many a dictator during the Cold War at the expense of longer-term stability and security. A consistent element in the rise of extremism is deep grievances at the denial of political and civil rights: the trails of many terrorists lead back to states such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Extremism is best delegitimised by free elections, which might enable Pakistan's growing middle class to end its political exclusion and exert a moderating influence, as is the case in India.

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