Cycles of Outrage

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Westerners would prefer that Pakistan be democratic. But having watched TV and seen the rioting mobs on Pakistani streets, not to mention the faces of former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, they also intuitively realize that Pakistan has been extremely lucky to have a decisive person who carries some honor – in the form of Pervez Musharraf. They also realize that whoever comes next is going to be worse, and is certainly not going to be in control of events there. Secretly, the Western nations would rather see Musharraf continue. After all, in that way nuclear weapons will stay in safe hands. But it is too politically incorrect to say this. Westerners will likely point to what the dissident lawyers in Pakistan are doing. Aren’t they fighting for liberty and democracy, at the risk of their lives? Shouldn’t we all love and support them? La Rochefoucauld said, “What we call virtues are often just a collection of casual actions and selfish interests which chance, or our own industry, manages to arrange [in a certain way]. It is not always from valor that men are valiant, or from chastity that women are chaste.” The Pakistani lawyers’ fight for liberty is just a facade. It is garb for a new kind of totalitarianism. They are merely tired of the military or, more importantly, realize that the power-equation no longer favors Musharraf. A few years later, they will be on the streets again, fighting to get the military, the favorite national institution, back into power, and claiming how corrupt the democratically elected government is, as they have done scores of times in the 60 years since independence.

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