The Options In Pakistan

Hilzoy thinks the fear of elections is misplaced:

There are very real dangers confronting Pakistan. Islamist extremists are well entrenched in the Tribal Areas and parts of the Northwest. They are already mounting terrorist attacks throughout the country. Those attacks could further strain Pakistan's already fragile institutions. Any number of very bad things could happen.

But most of those things involve not Pakistanis' exercise of democracy, but the further failure of its national institutions. Anyone who says that we should support dictatorship over democracy should do so not just on the vague grounds that bad things could happen in Pakistan, which is surely true, but on the grounds that democratic elections might actually bring some of those bad things to pass. The most obvious way in which elections might have bad consequences would be if there was widespread support for Islamist political parties in Pakistan.

There isn't.

Scott Horton analyzes the recent Bush-Rice initiative to foster a Bhutto-Musharraf reconciliation:

So what went wrong? In my view, Musharraf sensed a fault line in the U.S. between Condoleeza Rice, the author of the arrangement with Bhutto which he found so unappetizing, and his "friend" Dick Cheney. Musharraf gambled that in the end, Cheney and not Rice would be the advisor to whom Bush would turn. And Musharraf was spot on.

The Musharraf defense - that he was fighting back against "judicial activism" was almost comically sly.