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Will Democracy Forever Remain an Illusion?

By       Message Siv O'Neall     Permalink
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Pakistan was given a chance to get a civilian government under Asif Ali Zardari, the current president and the husband of Benazir Bhutto, a former president who was assassinated in December, 2007. He is totally corrupt, like most other political leaders in that part of the world, and maybe everywhere, but it still looks like an improvement after the military rule of General Pervez Musharraf who came to power in a military coup in 1999 and ruled the troubled country in a dictatorial way. The Pakistani people themselves actually very recently protested so strongly against this form of rule that Zardari saw himself forced to reinstate the Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who had been ousted by Musharraf, to his former post on March 16, 2009.

Since the Mongol invasion in 1219.after which Kabul became the capital of the Mughal Empire, nobody has ever managed to invade and conquer Afghanistan. England failed spectacularly in the 19th century and Russia of course had to give up their fight against the Taliban and withdraw in 1989, after ten years of debilitating war. The Taliban were of course strongly supported by the United States in their hysterical fight against communism. [2]

According to Graham Fuller, the planned strategy of President Obama for subduing what is now called the AfPak region is also bound to fail.[3]

"For all the talk of "smart power," President Obama is pressing down the same path of failure in Pakistan marked out by George Bush. The realities suggest need for drastic revision of U.S. strategic thinking.

-- Military force will not win the day in either Afghanistan or Pakistan; crises have only grown worse under the U.S. military footprint.

-- The Taliban represent zealous and largely ignorant mountain Islamists. They are also all ethnic Pashtuns. Most Pashtuns see the Taliban -- like them or not -- as the primary vehicle for restoration of Pashtun power in Afghanistan, lost in 2001. Pashtuns are also among the most fiercely nationalist, tribalized and xenophobic peoples of the world, united only against the foreign invader. In the end, the Taliban are probably more Pashtun than they are Islamist.

-- It is a fantasy to think of ever sealing the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The "Durand Line" is an arbitrary imperial line drawn through Pashtun tribes on both sides of the border. And there are twice as many Pashtuns in Pakistan as there are in Afghanistan. The struggle of 13 million Afghan Pashtuns has already inflamed Pakistan's 28 million Pashtuns."

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Asia is coming on strong

The formerly pretty much despised and ignored Asiatic countries, considered uncivilized and weak as compared to the rich Western nations have for quite some time now showed their muscle in terms of economy and resistance to the U.S. playing of the Superpower game. After the International Monetary Fund, when asked for help by those countries, instead of saving them managed to thoroughly ruin their economies, Asian countries have now gone together to take matters in their own hands, forming a kind of Asian IMF. The 10-member ASEAN organization [4] who already had substantial economic impact has recently formed an agreement with China, Japan and South Korea to create a $120 billion currency pool from which smaller countries can borrow. In this way the less wealthy Asian countries will turn to a monetary fund of their own [5]

"Two years ago, the ADB [the Asian Development Bank] was searching for a role in an Asia that was growing fast with surplus savings, burgeoning foreign exchange reserves and easy access to capital. Now the bank finds itself in the position of being courted both as a focus of regional cooperation and as a source of funds to help Asian countries face the crisis. Middle income countries like Indonesia and the Philippines have come knocking on the bank's door, looking for funds to boost government spending, particularly on infrastructure and for social safety nets as unemployment rises."

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The fall of a superpower

The United States has long ago outlived its presumed role as the lone superpower. The last administration just hammered the last nail into the coffin of this shadow of lost grandeur. Nobody needed the adoration of an illusion and very few people are going to miss the lies, the fake elections and the gaudy hoopla that leads up to the conventions of the two almost identical parties, both run and shaped by the big corporations that have been the true rulers of the United States for decades. Maybe after the economic recession is over, many years from now, maybe when Afghanistan and Pakistan are back on their own to fight out their own conflicts, maybe when Iran will no more have to fear reprisals from the West because it is intent on defending itself from Israel and the United States and maybe even the regime of the ayatollahs will be gone and some kind of democracy installed, maybe then a kind of equilibrium will reign and we the people won't have to be whiplashed into obedience by screams of national security, killer pandemics and a war on terror. And the people is lulled to sleep by newspeak of freedom and democracy, of moral values, of leaving no children behind and of trickle-down economics that will make us all healthy, wealthy and wise.

Asia will have achieved equal power with the West and the present efforts towards people-oriented politics in Latin America will have borne fruit and we will finally see democracy arising out of the ashes.

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Siv O'Neall was born and raised in Sweden where she graduated from Lund University. She has lived in Paris, France and New Rochelle, N.Y. and traveled extensively throughout the U.S, Europe, and other continents, including several trips to India. (more...)

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