Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf takes off his army uniform for the last time. As my title not-so subtly suggests, I am certainly surprised.
Pervez Musharraf stepped down Wednesday from his powerful post as military commander, a day before he was due to be sworn in as Pakistan's civilian president.It's not everyday a man with dictatorial power relinquishes it. Few men have done so before; George Washington comes to mind (and yes Washington could have easily been king).
During a change of command, Musharraf relinquished his post by handing over his ceremonial baton to his successor, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani...
Musharraf's retirement from the military has been a key opposition demand and the move may help defuse a possible boycott of parliamentary elections in January by parties opposed to his rule. Since seizing power in a coup in 1999, Musharraf has served as president while retaining his post as head of the armed forces.
Thanks to Musharraf, we have had the pleasure of having a key ally of an unlikely country. For that we owe him thanks, but for the analogy to Washington to stick, time will tell.
But that's enough of that; the real American interest in all of this, is what happens in the very probable event that Musharraf is voted out. According to the WaPo, Bhutto is pro-Western as well as the military establishment. That's all well and good, but unless they can change the other 99% of Pakistan public opinion toward America they're at best going to be as good as Musharraf was, which frankly was little more than the status quo, and any worse and we have serious problems. This is all assuming Bhutto and the military remain pro-Western.
There is someone in the Whitehouse losing sleep at night over this. Has to be.