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Monday, September 29, 2008

Correction...

One of my former students is a historian now and kindly posted me a correction to my last entry. It's embarrassing to have relied upon my memory--admittedly growing more faulty with age--instead of checking. Anyway, the main error is my suggesting Musharraf conducted his military coup against the government of Z. A. Bhutto (father of Benazir Bhutto, assassinated earlier this year while campaigning against the Musharraf government). That's wrong. Musharraf actually acted against the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was a protege of an earlier military dictator--Zia ul Haq--before being elected to the leadership. Ever since its formation in 1947, and especially during the past twenty-five years, Pakistan has oscillated between military rulers and elected leaders, unable to develop a politics independent of military influence--not to mention intervention--or in any way balanced amongst competing ethnic, religious, and political rivalries. My point in the last entry, of course, remains unchanged: it was silly of McCain to maintain that negotiation equals ratification. On NPR's Talk of the Nation today, Ted Koeppel, referring to the same McCain claim, pronounced it "foolish". Case closed...

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