By Martin Bosworth
By now you know that Benazir Bhutto is dead and Pakistan is in turmoil. I can’t say anything that Euphrosyne didn’t already say beautifully, so I won’t belabor what is already known. I also recommend Stirling Newberry’s comments on what this means for America and our declining empire.
Never one to pass up an opportunity to make himself look good using others’ deaths as the backdrop, Rudy Giuliani was quick to post a statement that the Terrorists ™ must be stopped from continuing their War On Us (caps are his, not mine). And he wasn’t the last.
CNN has a complete list of Presidential candidates’ reactions to Bhutto’s assassination, and I’m given to understand that the chattering class is already whipping itself into orgasmic fervor speculating on which of them this will benefit the most. I agree with A.J. Rossmiller that claiming this will somehow benefit Hillary and Giuliani because they’re the most hawkish is ludicrous. Anyone can claim that unilateral military force and “getting tough” is the answer to all our problems–Bush, who had no foreign policy experience himself has been doing that for nearly eight years, with disastrous results. Being a mayor of a city or the wife of a President doesn’t automatically grant you experience in handling the precarious path of foreign politics, and being a hawk doesn’t make you credible or the “default” to be taken seriously. These days, I’d argue it’s quite the opposite.
In fact, what I find interesting is how deeply this is affecting people the world over. Even the most apolitical people I know are expressing their shock and outrage at how Bhutto could have been so brazenly and brutally assassinated, and how her death paves the way for Musharraf to either cancel elections or use her martyrdom to sweep himself back to victory. These aren’t pundits or scholars saying this, mind you, but ordinary people, many of whom normally never express any opinions about foreign policy. Credibility is a dime a dozen, but plain common sense is all too uncommon these days, so I’m glad to see so many Americans registering their horror at the murder–and murder it was–of Bhutto.
That’s how deeply this has shaken us. As Pakistan descends into violence and fury, and our supposedly stalwart ally in the War on Terra shudders and shakes with its unrest, we are realizing just how badly we’ve bungled our affairs on the international stage, and how we’ve sundered coalitions with our allies and friends and made enemies where there were none. To coin a phrase, this ain’t rocket science, people. You don’t need a lifetime in the Foreign Service to see how badly we’ve fucked up, and how badly we need smart people with new ideas and better grasp of diplomacy to help salvage this insanity.
And we definitely don’t need clusters of parasites breathlessly whispering that this could help So-And-So’s candidacy or “electability.”