Sunday, February 26, 2006

Failed State, Deceptive Military

We've long railed against the role of Pakistani military in the collapse of that society. By conjuring up images of an Islamist takeover of their nuclear prowess, Pakistani Generals have long fooled the world and smothered democracy at home. It's time their bluff is called.

In a new Carnegie Policy Brief, Pakistan: The Myth of an Islamist Peril , Visiting Scholar Frederic Grare argues that the risk of an Islamist takeover in Pakistan is a myth invented by the Pakistani military to consolidate its hold on power. In fact, religious political parties and militant organizations are manipulated by the Pakistani Army to achieve its own objectives, domestically and abroad. The army, not the Islamists, is the real source of insecurity on the subcontinent. Sustainable security and stability in the region will be achieved only through the restoration of democracy in Pakistan.

Grare suggests that the West should actively promote the demilitarization of Pakistan’s political life through a mix of political pressure and capacity building. Enlarging the pool of elites and creating alternative centers of power will be essential for developing a working democracy in Pakistan.

3 comments:

cynical nerd said...

Monsieur Grare certainly brings new perspective to American policy establishment. But Old Guards like Stephen Cohen, who have a voice inside Foggy Bottom persist on supporting the Pak. army with the TINA arguement.

libertarian said...

Grare's suggestion of demilitarizing Pakistan's political life is a non-starter if India doesn't spear-head it. We gain the most (besides the Pakistani people themselves) by defanging their military. Judging by their still-born (multiple times) democratic tradition, this one will have to be won without much support from their society.

Here's a relatively radical suggestion: one way to enlarge the pool of elites is for India to have an equivalent of the H1-B program for Pakistani (and may be Bangaldeshi and Sri Lankan) nationals. Our burgeoning IT/BPO industries can easily absorb their best and brightest. I can already hear an avalanche of protest ... :-) - but it's instructive to remember that we don't have very good choices given the military strangle-hold on their politics.

Primary Red said...

Fascinating idea. Look forward to reading a real debate on this. Will reflect on this and post shortly.

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