Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pakistanis hate the US and love their military

Elections are round the corner in Pakistan; thankfully, it won't be on the Ides of March!  But then, it seems like the country is in a perennial Ides of March, and an election on that day maybe the equivalent of two negatives making a positive!

So, how are things there? (ht)
With President Barack Obama's first term characterized by strained relations between Pakistan and the U.S., more than nine in 10 Pakistanis (92%) disapprove of U.S. leadership and 4% approve, the lowest approval rating Pakistanis have ever given.Trend: Approval of U.S. Leadership in Pakistan
Really?  There is still 4% that approves the US leadership? Damn; we aren't doing a good enough job with our drone strikes then.  Oh, wait, what drone strikes?

To begin with, it is one heck of a shaky democracy in Pakistan. To add fuel to that fire, which was not always merely metaphorical, we did everything from drone strikes to, well, remember that crazy shooting incident?  Of course, there is that wonderful line up of prime ministers and presidents accused of corruption.  Should we then be surprised at all with the following?
confidence in the interventionist military -- the organization that has ruled the nation for over half of its post-independence history -- climbed to 88% in October 2012. While support for the military in Pakistan has traditionally been very high, it has regularly met or eclipsed 80% since 2010.Trend: Pakistan: Confidence in Military and National Government The upcoming May elections in Pakistan will be of seismic importance for the future direction of the country and for U.S.-Pakistani relations. 
Oh my!  88% versus 23%.  No contest there!

If elections are held as scheduled in May, and if a civilian government follows, then it will be a historic event--two consecutive civilian governments.  A civil transfer of power.  But, of course, three months to go and a great deal can happen in between.

A few months ago, I wrote that "Pakistan seems to be rapidly fading from our radars":
On our part, here from the US, we ought to cheer these developments, and support them in every possible way we can. We definitely do not want to perpetuate a long‐held sentiment around the world, particularly in Pakistan, that the US quickly forgets as soon as its own selfish objectives have been met.
Oh well ... even more to worry about in that Gallup poll:
Pakistanis now more than at any other time in the past three years feel threatened by interaction with the West, according to a May 12-June 6, 2012, survey. A majority (55%) say interaction between Muslim and Western societies is "more of a threat," up significantly from 39% in 2011. 
Not good at all!

Let us hope that it will be a peaceful spring in Pakistan.


frank said...

Sriram at some point check out the following link, it will enlighten you.

Ramesh said...

Well, Pakistan is a real mess. I am not sure what the solution there is. Every civilian elected governments have been a huge kleptocracy. Musharraf's government at least did some economic good. With such a high level of fundamentalism, is there a chance for democracy to work. Is the option of a technocrat government (eg Italy, Bangladesh) work ?? Don't know. Anyway its for the Pakistanis to decide.

Sriram Khé said...

Hi Frank, yes, funny stuff there .... though, I don't think their satire comes up to the Onion's level :)

It is one horrible mess, yes. And so much of it was, and is, avoidable, right, Ramesh? Pakistan is one of those countries that consistently chooses for the worst option, way outside any normal set of alternatives ... Let us what the country does now ...