Saturday, January 08, 2011

One World.

A. Rather than turn to the generals, we must stand by the democratically elected civilian government, despite its many faults (and there are many indeed). We should remain invested in the democratic process and the rule of law, which is what Pakistanis demanded only three years ago when they peacefully toppled another dictator, General Musharraf, despite the Bush administration’s desperate efforts to keep him in power.

The stakes are enormous. Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world and is home to more terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba than any other country. On virtually every global issue that matters to Americans in the twenty-first century—from terror to proliferation to nuclear war to the future of the global jihad—Pakistan is the crucial nation, and the place where all those issues collide in a uniquely combustible fashion. . .

B. But in response, Karzai does not have many options. His "decisions" don't actually change reality so much as they express intent or exhibit symbols. In the face of his many challenges, almost the only tools he has are words. If he wants to protest air strikes or home raids, he makes dramatic statements about a "foreign occupation." If he feels threatened by conservatives and warlords, he starts to burnish his Islamic credentials and sound populist rhetoric. If he believes the Taliban are winning and the international community is withdrawing, he threatens to switch sides. None of these words stem from real beliefs so much as they simply reflect whichever pressure Karzai feels most urgently at the moment. . . Governance requires fundamentally different skills than corruption. A change at the top does not change the skills, abilities, and inclinations of a whole network. The Afghan government and the Karzai network are equally incapable of governing, regardless of their skill at criminal enterprises. . .

C. I believe we are witnessing the end of the post-colonial era in politics and economics. In China, Brazil and a dozen other countries, the type of thinking known as “post-colonial” – defined as a stark choice between angry resistance or humiliating subservience – has simply ceased to matter in political and business relations. . . While post-colonialism clings on in Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Zimbabwe and a handful of other places, it has vanished from most of the world with amazing speed.

D. Cheer on my friends! Cheer on the assassin! Smile and clap your hands, chant odes to the ghazi’s bravery! Go ahead, applaud the darkness that is coming your way, because once it has taken you into its embrace, there’ll be no cheer left in your life. Hail the assassin as your hero! Lift him up on your shoulders and show his brave deed to your children! Tell them to emulate his example and follow his footsteps! Kiss the ground he walked on! Congregate outside the prison that holds him and shout slogans so he hears your support through the walls. Because soon, the only heroes left in your life will be those with blood on their hands and death in their hearts. . .So do it! Celebrate all manner of bloodlust because soon there will be nobody left in your life who can call murder by its name.

E. On October 9th, 2010, photographs of 100 gay men and women were printed in a Ugandan newspaper called "Rolling Stone" under the headline, "100 Pictures of Uganda's Top Homos Leak" (Ugandan newspapers are nortoriously full of bad grammar) with an accompanying banner that said "Hang Them". The names and addresses of each of the individuals were also printed in the newspaper. Those in the photos were in immediate danger, and most went into hiding. However, at least four people whose photos were printed have been violently attacked to date, and one woman nearly killed. . . Democratization and the entrenchment of human rights are the only ways in which Uganda will stabilize and move forward, and the only criteria by which it can join the civilized world and be taken seriously within the international community.

F. It's getting better.


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