Joshua Kurlantzick in The New Republic:
In recent days, the Bush administration has slowly edged away from its outright support for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. “We don’t want to be seen to be looking, but we want to make sure we talk to a wide variety of people,” one
official told the Washington Post this week. “We encourage moderate political forces in Pakistan to work together,” echoed State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
The most visible of those “moderate political forces,” of course, is former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, whom Washington desperately hopes can help Musharraf stabilize the country, possibly as prime minister with Musharraf remaining president. Bhutto, who enjoys an over 60 percent popularity rating in Pakistan in a recent poll, has strengthened her credentials as a moderate democrat over the last week and a half by relentlessly attacking Musharraf’s decision to impose a state of emergency and by calling for him to resign. And, indeed, Bhutto would be a better solution than military rule because she stands for some of the best historical values of Pakistani democracy. Unfortunately, she stands for some of the worst, too.