September 28, 2006

Musharref on "The Daily Show."

Did you see Pervez Musharraf do an interview with Jon Stewart the other day? Beautifully done. Loved the Twinkie. And Musharraf was awfully cool -- serious and funny, solid but not stuffy.

16 comments:

Samir Chopra said...

The delusion is complete. Overthrow a democratically elected government by military coup (Nawaz Sharif in 1999), support terrorist attacks on a neighboring country (via the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Kashmir), prop up a fascist theocratic regime for years (Taliban) and then bail out only when confronted with bombing threats after that regime aids and abets one of world's worst mass murders (9/11), suggest rape victims are only complaining because they want money and publicity (Mukhtaran Mai), order aerial attacks against your own population (Baluchistan), play arsonist and fireman in the hunt for a mass murderer (the farce in Waziristan), and then, write a book, appear on a comedy show, and become the darling of one and all. Pervez, you shoulda given Pinochet and Stroessner lessons.

Goesh said...

- as well as juggling and manipulating tribal loyalties in the frontier region where blood fueds and shariah law go back a hundred generations or so...talk about a puppet master.

Balfegor said...

where blood fueds and shariah law go back a hundred generations or so

Islam is not quite that old, I think. It's only been around for 14 centuries -- maybe 60 or 70 generations. Even with child marriage, the generations don't cycle that quickly.

Big D said...

Anybody find it weird that in interviews Stewart goes after journalists and writers he disagrees with vigorously yet he softballs a freaking dictator. Well that and the fact he claims he has basically a meaningless show on basic cable yet has world leaders on fairly regularly.

Cat said...

I agree with Choprha Goesh and Big D -

Big-D that's why it's a smart move on Musharref's part. All the college kids will think he's as cool as Castro. And hardball a dictator? That would seem to be judging another culture harshly which is typically the excuse from apologists. I recall that was a lot of the reaction on the left to the Taliban when people (like Hillary Clinton) spoke out against them. Who are we to judge their "culture," "traditions."

It's revolting.

Goesh said...

-no doubt he has a wife from each large tribe and you can bet your boots some of the male kids are spending time in the frontier with their bearded, patriarch grandfathers - it's all that is keeping him alive IMHO. Prayer and fighting is about all these tribesmen care about.

VICTOR said...

"the darling"

Ditto Chopra but I would focus on GW not the Daily Show. Relevant as it is what "college kids" and "libs" think I guess it may matter more what the . . . you know US administration thinks?

LoafingOaf said...

I didn't watch the Daily Show. Am I being told if I view that I'll consider the dictator a "cool dude"?

Didn't he only stop supporting the Taliban because he was threatened and bribed? Didn't he only stop helping terrorists in Kashmir after he was bribed (if he has in fact stopped)? Didn't he almost nuke our true ally, India, just a few years ago? Isn't Pakistan the reason there are nukes in North Korea? Didn't Musharraf pardon the guy who helped the most horrible regimes get closer to nukes? Didn't Musharraf try and blame India for the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl? Didn't Musharraf have to be arm-twisted to make the Pakistan intelligence agency stop helping al Qaeda and Taliban fighters get out of Afghanistan and find safe haven in Pakistan?

When Musharraf was talking about how he was forced to stop supporting the Taliban, he said he did so only out of self-interests for Pakistan.

I realize he's not in full control over Pakistan's territory or over all elements within his government. But I wonder if the dictator really considers it in his self-interests to capture bin Laden when just giving minimal appearances of helping in the war on terrorism is all he needs to do to reap so many rewards. Seems like he's got a good thing going for himself if things stay the way they are.

And what is the latest on the Mumbai train bombing in India? Last I heard, while the dictator condemned it, Pakistan's Foreign Minister said the root cause of 200 innocent people being blown up was because the Kashmir issue has not been resolved. Does that indicate Pakistan is trying to clean up terrorism? Or are they okay with terrorists threatening India with further mass-murder?

But I dunno...I'm not expert. I just don't trust or like the guy. Bush is right to have a strategic relations, but why the does he have to call Musharraf his personal friend? Reminds me of Bush gratuitously sucking up to Putin at the start of his presidency.

Revenant said...

Loadfingoaf -- good questions, and the answers are mostly "yes". But:

Didn't he almost nuke our true ally, India, just a few years ago?

India has never been an ally of the United States. We have strong economic ties now, and are *starting* to form political and military ties (a Bush administration diplomatic success, actually), but for most of their history we were allied with Pakistan. India was an ostensibly neutral nation that, like Iraq, received a lot of Soviet aid.

Also, bear in mind that most of what Musharaff did, a democratic Pakistan would have done too. Khan is a national hero, for example, and both Pakistan's nuclear program and their support for Islamic extremists and terrorists predate Musharraf's takeover of the country. So while he's certainly a nasty dictator, it is Pakistan itself that represents the real problem (kind of the reverse of Iran, where the leaders are the problem and the people are pretty mild-mannered).

Seven Machos said...

I'd like to add here that supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan, while morally reprehensible because of what the Taliban did, made and continues to make geopolitical sense for Pakistan. Pakistan can influence the Taliban, because it is based on Islam, which is what Pakistan is based on (otherwise, Pakistan is just more of India). A Taliban-controlled Afghanistan stands against India, and also Russia.

Just some food for thought...

Steven H. said...

Well that and the fact he claims he has basically a meaningless show on basic cable yet has world leaders on fairly regularly.

Musharraf is the first sitting head of state to appear on the Daily Show.

Steven H. said...

I will say that Stewart has certainly become a hipper Larry King for the politician set. Remember how tame his interview with Rick Santorum was?

Mark T said...

Stop drinking the right wing Kool-aid.

Stop drinking the right wing Kool-aid.

Stop drinking the right wing Kool-aid.

Seriously - as Anne pointed out -- nailing it -- it was funny, indeed charming (the service of tea with a twinkie -- which as Stewart pointed out contains no single ingredient that is actually edible, but which when all ingredients are combined, makes for a highly edible treat -- followed by ". . . so, where is Osama bin Laden , anyway?" . . . was funny. Telling Musharif, who mentioned that he had survived two assassination attempts at the same bridge on his way into work, that he (Jon Stewart) was no head of state, but that he (Musharif) might want to consider taking a different route to work . . . was nothing short of hilarious). It was also sober and interesting. And for those of who who think this makes a dictator look "cool" in the eyes of the college students and others (including 48-year old geezers such as . . . . me) who watch The Daily Show religiously, what it does show is that in the Islamic world, there is no black and white -- only many, many shades of grey. Think about it -- Pakistan has nuclear weapons and yet has not used them against Israel, India or any other western target. Too bad our President only sees things as being in black and white - you are either with us or against us. If that's the choice he gives the Muslim world, they can only conclude that they are against us, because they sure as hell are not with us. Incredible.

That Musharif comes across as a sober, calm and thoughtful individual does not mean we who watched the interview were brainwashed, it means that we were looking at an interview with a complex individual, in the center of a very complex situation, reflecting on the ambiguity and conflicting interests that he confronts and must cope with every minute of every day. Easy for us to criticize him, sitting in front of our 45" plasma HDTVs in the good-ole U.S. of A. Same narrow mindset that led us to think that complete chaos and a Shiite crescent running through the middle of Iraq to Iran would somehow be in our national interest.

LoafingOaf said...

mark t: Too bad our President only sees things as being in black and white - you are either with us or against us.

From USA Today:

But after the Sept. 11 attacks, Musharraf says, he realized continuing to support the Taliban and have ties with militant groups would set Pakistan on a collision course with Washington.

"America was sure to react violently, like a wounded bear," Musharraf writes. "If the perpetrator turned out to be al-Qaeda, then that wounded bear would come charging straight toward us."

The day after the suicide plane attacks, Musharraf says,Secretary of State Colin Powell telephoned with an ultimatum: "You are either with us or against us."


Looks to me like Bush telling the dictator he was either with us or against us was precisely what got him to stop supporting the Taliban. So...keep on with your talking points if you like. I read this as proving it was a good thing our President spelled it out to the dictator in those terms.

LoafingOaf said...

revenant: India has never been an ally of the United States. We have strong economic ties now, and are *starting* to form political and military ties (a Bush administration diplomatic success, actually), but for most of their history we were allied with Pakistan. India was an ostensibly neutral nation that, like Iraq, received a lot of Soviet aid.

The USSR has been over for almost 20 years.

In the war on terrorism, India is definitely an ally. And I consider India a general ally because it is the world's largest democracy. Perhaps as India rises as an economic power there will be more tensions, I dunno. But I know what side India is on in the war, and I like them a lot more than some of our traditional allies such as France.

Pakistan is a country I'm pretty sure we're going to have to take military action in within the next 10 years. It is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and most of the problems we're fearing in the world today can, at least in part, be traced back to Pakistan, whether it be the Taliban giving haven to bin Laden, nuclear proliferation, etc.

Big D said...

Musharraf is the first sitting head of state to appear on the Daily Show.

Fine, so let's change it to make you happy

Well that and the fact he claims he has basically a meaningless show on basic cable yet has major political players such as McCain, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Gore, Ken Mehlman, Ted Kennedy, Colin Powell, Gingrich, Howard Dean, Henry Kissinger, Tom Daschle, Madeleine Albright, and even Desmond Tutu on fairly regularly.