Thursday, September 28, 2006

Musharaff on the Daily Show

It's a good interview. Stewart isn't on his top, lethal, form (he demolishes Ramesh Ponnuru in about three seconds at one point during this interview) and the tea bit at the start is a little lame although it does make a funny lead into his Osama bin Laden question. However, an interview with a head of state is always going to be a little tame and he gets some interesting questions in.

There isn't a huge amount to say about it. He highlights why the 'deal' with tribal leaders in Waziristan should not be thought of as a deal with the Taleban but rather as an attempt to prevent any link up between these two regional powers. This has to make sense in a country where so much power is held by landowners with little political ambition but who, if mobilised, could seriously destablise any Pakistani government.

One thing he doesn't do, which he has been accused of, is seem to exaggerate the extremist threat to his own position. This is supposed to be his strategy for securing American help in maintaining military rule but does not appear in the clip above where he is a picture of calm; it would seem a very good opportunity for him to push such a perspective with an interview on such a highly rated US show. The only way that this view of Pakistani military policy can fit with Musharaff's behaviour in this clip is if we assume that he is emphasising his calm at the moment so that he appears an effective saviour of Pakistan from extremism.

Keep an eye on Pakistan. It is easily the most important country for Britain's War on Terror.

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