Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bhutto's Teen Son Is New Party Leader

By Cernig

The very fact that Bhutto's will names her 19 year old son Bilawal as her "heir" as leader of the PPP and hands the co-chairmanship to her astonishigly corrupt husband speaks volumes about Bhutto's own preference for oligarchy over democracy. It speaks volumes for the PPP that it rubber-stamped her wishes.

Bilawal Bhutto may not have finished his academic studies at Oxford yet, but he's been groomed well by his family for his new-found power. "Democracy is the best revenge," he told reporters with a straight face. His party will now contest the elections, forcing other frontrunner Nawaz Sharif to reconsider his boycott announced after Bhutto's assassination. There's no doubt in my mind that Bhutto's PPP aren't the best hope for Pakistan - they're simply the most electable. In that, they hold something very much in common with America's Democrats and Republicans, who are also enamoured of rich oligarchies.

But as Bhutto's supporters clash with security troops (what else do you call a paramilitary with a Kalashnikov? A policeman?) and Pakistan comes to a standstill; it seems that the elections will be used to paper over massive cracks in Pakistani society and that the various oligarchical factions will go on as normal in their aftermath. I smell a "soft totalitarian" quid pro quo.

Update The Bush administration, according to the WaPo today, has no Plan B for Pakistan and will stay the course(TM) with pushing Musharraf as the leader of a "moderate space" in Pakistani politics - a notion so wrong-headed and so inspired by a perfect snowstorm of Pakistani spin that it would be hilarious if it wasn't deathly depressing.

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