Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Good article on US Pakistani relations

I saw this on Instapundit. I've traveled in Pakistan and this article sounds about right to me. One thing the author omits. The Pakistanis I met and talked with were VERY interested in obtaining American support for /alliance with Pakistan against India, China, Al Quada and the various other bogymen out there. They all had problems with various aspects of US policy, but they all saw the US as powerful, reasonably benevolent, essential, and a great place to live.
There are a few things to remember about Pakistan. It's big, 160 million people. About 20 million live in and around Karachi, do manufacturing and trading, have radio and TV and read newspapers. The rest of them, 140 million, are tenant farmers, scratching out a crop with hand tools. No radio, TV, newspapers, many are illiterate. But they are not stupid. When their landlord runs for public office, they know to vote for him lest something bad happen to them. So the majority of Pakistan's elected parliment is landlords, with little sense of responsibility to the general welfare of Pakistan. Every 15 years or so the corruption of the parliament gets so bad that the Pakistani Army steps in to clean things up. After some time goes by, the army will relinquish control to the elected civilian leadership. Pakistan is in that phase right now. They have gone thru this cycle two or three times in the 60 years since Pakistan became Pakistan. They will probable keep on doing it. The Pakistani Army is highly respected and enjoys as much or more confidence among the population as any Pakistani politician.

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