Sunday, June 17, 2007

Pakistan on the brink: American capitalists wonder, can the less noble races handle democracy?

So, while the dictatorship has never been in more trouble than it has recently, the US has boldly and defiantly stated that it is a proud supporter of tyranny. Good to have it on paper and in the public record, as it were. As part of the recent wave of repression, Farooq Tariq, the general secretary of Pakistan's Labour Party (LPP), has been imprisoned and is being moved from gaol to gaol. An imprisoned member of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has already died of a heart attack in Musharraf's cells, and the activists in Pakistan are asking that people bombard the dictatorship with protests.

The man at the centre of the recent opposition upsurge, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, is galvanising huge support across the country. Elections are going to be held, but the regime will probably try to rig them like they did the last ones. Associated Press reports that the US is seeking 'fair' elections this time round, but they said that before. And we sort of know what the phrase 'fair elections' means to the US government. The US is lauding Pakistan's contribution to the 'war on terror', although the Pakistani military is apparently a bit wary of battling the Talibs.

Meanwhile, the New York Times wing of US capitalism wonders if Pakistan can 'mix well with democracy'. Describing the opposition as 'pro-Western moderates', it nevertheless wonders if the US might make 'the same mistake as in Iraq' by supporting democracy in a country that 'can't change', and where it is therefore 'better' 'having someone with a heavy hand' etc etc. This - which only reports what is openly stated by think-tanks and both Democrat and Republican candidates - is a breathtaking mixture of hypocrisy and racism. These places - being, y'know, populated by dark-skinned people - are simply unready for self-government, which is why the US's Wilsonian mission to bring about a set of democratic revolutions has failed. Interestingly, this sort of drivel is not so very far from Woodrow Wilson's own convictions about 'self-government'. His entire vision of the global political order, as well as the domestic one, was permeated by a 'natural' 'racial' hierarchy, in which the 'Aryans' were the 'nobler' race and the source of the best forms of government, especially since their state had originated from the 'patriarchal' family (whereas, he maintained, the more 'stationary' races permitted 'kinship by motherhood alone'). In fact, he too maintained that America should rule the Philippines - this was the first time America maintained a direct long-term colonial occupation of another country without annexing it - "with a strong hand that will brook no resistance, and according to principles of right gathered from our own experience, not from theirs, which has never yet touched the vital matter that we are concerned with … They are children and we are men in these deep matters of government and justice". This is merely the peak of a very grotty iceberg, but it suffices to note that these contemporary Wilsonians are not so very far from their grim exemplar.