Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

Musharraf, “shorthand” for Pakistan?


I finally got around to reading the full text of a speech by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte to the National Endowment for Democracy’s Pakistan Forum earlier this month and the following exchange caught my eye:

President Musharraf/file photoQuestion: “Does the Bush Administration still consider President Musharraf an indispensable ally?”

Negroponte: “Well, first of all, I think what you — your first question is prompted by the fact that at times in the past, when we talked about the war on terror, particularly in the wake of 9/11, we personalized the characterization of Pakistan’s collaboration with us by saying that Mr. Musharraf was an indispensable ally in the war on terror. And I myself used that phrase on a number of occasions.

“But it really is shorthand for the nation of Pakistan and it’s a shorthand for saying that we have an — I mean, Pakistan is in an indispensable situation in terms of dealing with the threats we confront in the war on terror because of the border area, because of al Qaeda, because of the position that this whole al Qaeda threat poses to our interests, the interests of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the rest of the world. So I think that’s — that would be what I’d say to that one.”