A dictator’s core competence
On the whole Musharraf got exactly the opposite of what he bargained for when he got his ‘enlightened moderation‘ speech published in the Washington Post. In the same newspaper, Samina Ahmed and John Norris of the International Crisis Group have written a hard hitting critique of Musharraf’s policies that expose his own miserable record at home.
A ‘moderation’ of freedom: The words sound good, and such language from the leader of a nuclear nation on the front lines of the war against terrorism should be reassuring. But sadly, to most people who follow Pakistan closely, Musharraf’s comments come across as dangerously close to farce. While advocating enlightened moderation abroad, Pakistan’s leader is content to practice enlightenment in extreme moderation at home.
Pakistan could serve as the force of moderation and enlightenment espoused by Musharraf, but it will require enlightened leadership on his part. Pakistan’s military needs to return to the sidelines of political life and give its moderate political parties — which have always done reasonably well in keeping a lid on extremism — a chance to function. While the military has done a good job in using the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to strengthen its position, military governments across the globe have demonstrated that they usually do not stand the test of time or enlightenment.[Washington Post]
His article served as a lightening rod for both domestic and international opinion to focus on the shortcomings of his own rule. Evil dictators should focus on their core competency, trying to pass off as visionary statesmen can be quite counterproductive.