« September 2006 |
| November 2006 »
Evidently, something of a conservative thinktank, but the USCC does raise the uncomfortable question of what China's role in the world should be. The report is not yet online, but should be found here when it is.
China role in peaceful world questioned - Yahoo! News
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission accused China of failing "to meet the threshold test of international responsibility in the area of non-proliferation" by aiding
Iran's nuclear, missile and chemical programs and refusing to effectively use its leverage to bring North Korea back into nuclear weapons negotiations.
It said China in recent years has allowed the transfer of weapons and technology across its territory from North Korea to Iran and even if Beijing wanted to control such transfers, this would be very difficult.
Beijing's adherence to World Trade Organization obligations remains "spotty and halting" five years after attaining membership while its hunt for oil and gas holdings overseas could "substantially effect U.S. energy security," the report added.
In a few easy steps. First, either assassinate an opposition leader or bomb a training camp. Then sit back and allow angry protests to get out of control:
At Bajaur 10,000 men sporting beards and guns gathered to listen to the firebrand mullah Faqir Mohammad, who had reportedly left the madrassa shortly before the attacks. He exhorted them to join a jihad to “oust American and British forces” from Afghanistan. The tribal agency is believed to be a refuge for al-Qaeda and anti-coalition forces that cross over to fight in the neighbouring Afghan province of Kunar.
Brew for a few more weeks and then serve back upon your neighbours and allies.
More later, and check out also the Asia Times report that suggests the perpetrators were not Pakistani armed forces but NATO.
Asia Times report
Continue reading "How to Foment Rebellion" »
It's easy to forget sometimes just how good the BBC is, but tonight's Newsnight was a timely reminder for me. Three feature stories headed the bill: the first on the dangers of blogging; next on the right of the BBC and others to interview Taliban spokesmen; the last on the church in China. Each of them was linked by a common thread - the right to free expression.
I was critical of Amnesty's initial attempt to tackle the online issue: it didn't seem to understand the issues at stake. However, now it seems they have got it right. The problem is not so much censorship - which we frankly can do nothing about - but the collusion of companies such as Yahoo in providing evidence which leads to the arrest of bloggers and other critical voices.
"Call to Bloggers" to stand up for freedom ahead of world meeting on future of Internet - Amnesty International
Steve Ballinger, part of Amnesty International’s delegation to the IGF, said:
“Freedom of expression online is a right, not a privilege – but it’s a right that needs defending. We’re asking bloggers worldwide to show their solidarity with web users in countries where they can face jail just for criticising the government.
“The Internet Governance Forum needs to know that the online community is bothered about free expression online and willing to stand up for it.”
Amnesty International is calling on governments and companies to ensure that human rights – particularly the rights to freedom of expression, association and the right to privacy – are respected and protected.
Help is, however, at hand via what seems to be an ingenious peer-to-peer solution to disguising your net ID: Freenet. Of course eventually the Great Firewall will cut it off, but the growth of sophistication since the good old days when I and others were desperately trying to use the currently-ruined Anonymouse to get past the CCP is amazing.
Next week will see another summit meeting in Beijing for African leaders. The Economist asks whether China is a suitable model for Africa - the answer, 'no', relates to China's cornering of every economic niche that Africa might once have exploited. China is offering only cash, not know-how or assistance - and in Africa, the cash just ends up in a few select pockets.
China gains both economically and in terms of political capital. It's colonialism by another name, and just as exploitative.
Africa and China | Wrong model, right continent | Economist.com
What is in it for China? It no longer wants Africa's hearts, minds or giraffes. Mostly, it just wants its oil, ores and timber—plus its backing at the United Nations. Thus, even as the Chinese win mining rights, repair railways and lay pipelines on the continent, Africa's governments are shuttering their embassies in Taiwan in deference to Beijing's one-China policy.
This suits Africa's governments. The scramble for resources invariably passes the ministerial doorstep, where concessions are sold and royalties collected. China helps African governments ignore Western nagging about human rights: its support has allowed Sudan to avoid UN sanctions over Darfur. And some Africans look on China as a development model, replacing the tough Washington Consensus with a “Beijing Consensus”: China's economic progress is cited by statists, protectionists and thugs alike to “prove” that keeping the state's grip on companies, trade and political freedoms need not stop a country growing by 8%-plus a year.
The paper hasn't yet appeared online, but I'll certainly keep an eye out for it. I expect that it'll be notable for what it desn't say as much as for what it does. Xinhua is certainly keeping mum about anything the EU has to say on human rights and so on, but that may well be because Europe would rather keep its trade levels up than "interfere in China's internal affairs"
Xinhua - English
The EU's executive Commission will release the new policy paper today.
In it China-EU relations are described as positive but there are also calls for a closer partnership, to deal with global challenges such as energy supply and sustainable development as well as smoother economic and trade cooperation.
"We both have a huge stake in effective multilateralism, and in international peace and stability across the globe," said EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Walder in a joint article for the International Herald Tribune newspaper.
Seven Sisters (oil companies) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Interesting to see how 'big oil' is interlinked. If they were once the 'seven sisters', then now the key companies - Shell, BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil - are more like the the four horsemen of the apocalypse...
Nuclear-weapons proliferation | Going critical, defying the world | Economist.com
IT TOOK quite literally a bomb to shift the big powers into concerted action at the United Nations Security Council against a long-defiant, boastfully nuclear-capable North Korea. What will it take for Europe, America, Russia and China to agree on the sort of sanctions that might oblige a nose-thumbing but not yet nuclear-armed Iran to obey the council's demand to stop enriching uranium and messing with plutonium, from which its own future bombs could be made?
Great question. The whole Iran-North Korea issue - in many ways it is the same issue, just with different constituent elements - is certainly going to show us the reality of how China will really behave in the context of international institutions like the UN. Is it truly a responsible stakeholder, or will it turn as usual to balance-of-power politics instead?
The Economist thinks the latter:
Having long insisted that the North Korean nuclear issue was better handled outside the UN, China is livid that Mr Kim brushed aside repeated warnings not to test. But if the Chinese are now ready to work through the Security Council, that is chiefly in the hope of forestalling unilateral American action. That still leaves room for dispute that Mr Kim will do his best to widen.
It is becoming increasingly certain, however, that the US's strategy has been appallingly counterproductive. The world has become a more dangerous place since the War on terror; the 'Axis of Evil' has only grown stronger; and America is rapidly losing its diplomatic power to rising China and the the resurgent Russia. Time for reform at the UN.
Continue reading "Where the UNSC Now?" »
It's not often that you hear the murmur of an apology in Confucian cultures, much less at the highest of political levels. If Kim Jong-Il really has said he is sorry to Beijing, then that indiscates not only a loss of face but some serious leverage on China's part.
Once again, this whole episode appears to be working out in China's favour while the US and others (Japan and Europe too) stand on the sidelines. Yes, of course it's a regional affair, but one suspects that in the CCP there is some considerable glee at the imroved standing of China in the 'international community'. Solving the DPRK problem truly would make China seem a 'responsible partner' to an increasingly overstretched and irrelevant US.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | North Korea backs down after Chinese pressure
As well as tighter cargo checks at the main border crossing of Dandong, China has ordered at least four banks to freeze money transfers to North Korea. According to the New York Times, it is also threatening to cut low-cost oil supplies in a cross-border pipeline that is thought to provide more than 80% of North Korea's needs.
This leverage appeared to have paid off today when China's special envoy to Pyongyang, Tang Jiaxuan, put a "strong message" to Mr Kim. According to South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper, the North Korean leader expressed remorse for putting China in a difficult situation and demonstrated a willingness to compromise.
It's good that the PRC is taking the nuclear tests seriously. But it is doing so in a typically opaque manner. Of course, this strategy is probably more acceptable to North Korea itself (note that the envoy is not even a current government official, but a retired minister - thus taking off the pressure of 'officaldom' in the PRC-DPRK talks.)
Most noticeably, China's attitude on sanctions remains ambivalent. It is correct to note that sanctions shouldn't just be a means to an end, because anything serious would trigger immediate collapse. However, the world knows that China is the only country with any influence over the situation, and it is beginning to become apparent that it is going to do nothing - even in the face of a UNSC resolution it itself supported.
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China pressures N Korean leader
A Chinese envoy has met North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong-il as tensions mount over the North's nuclear test, according to Chinese officials.
The envoy, former Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, was believed to be carrying a message from China's President Hu Jintao calling for restraint...
China's Foreign Ministry warned on Thursday against "wilfully" expanding UN sanctions against North Korea.
"Sanctions are a signal, not a goal," spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference.
It's amazing how at home I feel in New York. It's not that things are exactly the same - they are not - but yet somehow the 'melting pot' seems to take in every aspect of the other cities I've lived in and blends them into one.
In New York you have it all: the bustle and imperial grandeur of London; the brownstone architecture and flashy skyscrapers of Shanghai's east and west riverbanks of the Bund and Pudong; even some of the old world charm of Amsterdam, at least in the Village.
The subway took all of an hour to get to grips with, and navigating the grid system was a piece of cake. The ethnic mix reminded me of London too, though elements of Chinatown were, of course, pure Puxi.
Perhaps most of all, New York had that easy familiarity of an old friend I had grown up with - over 30 years of TV. Every inch of the city has been immortalised on celluloid, and it was as if I had never been anywhere else. Such is the impact of popular culture.
Lastly, the media. This place is self-obsessed. On any one of four or five rolling news channels today, the airwaves were jammed with non-news of Cory Lidl's unfortunate light aircraft crash into an upper East Side tenement block. North Korea? Fuggedabahdit.
On the other hand, strolling past Ground Zero on Wednesday did give me an uneasy sense of unreality. How must it have looked to those who witnessed the attacks? I imagined myself watching in slow motion as the planes made impact and realised just how much that day affected the national psyche of this place.
There are few Republicans to be found in New York, but they are not the only Americans.
Dutch Multiculturalism in Question
A draft report of proceedings in New York, by Jessica Serraris and Philip Sen.
Those who managed to get in – people were literally lining up around Washington Square to attend the debate at NYU’s Tischman Auditorium – were warned that they’d hear some views that would be “a little more direct than Americans are used to”. They were not to be disappointed.
Integration and its Discontents
Students, professors, journalists and VIPs alike gathered to see arguably one of the most celebrated Dutch women in recent history. The notoriously outspoken Ayaan Hirsi Ali had been invited to discuss the dark side of Islam and Dutch multiculturalism, and along with former EU commissioner FFrits Bolkestein and writer Bas Heijne she certainly managed to captivate the audience.
But the debate was deeply one-sided. If Heijne was supposed to counter the rightist views of the other two, he did not live up to the task. Perhaps the debate would have benefited had a prominent and outspoken Muslim been invited to the stage too. Still, what ensued was otherwise a representative discussion on Holland’s controversial and divisive integration issues. After Professor Tony Judt's introduction, in which he set recent upheavals (including two political assassinations) into context, it was time to hear the speakers make their cases. It soon became clear that there would be more than one star of the show.
Read on below.
Continue reading "Religion and the Limits of Tolerance" »
Well here I am. Flags flying everywhere, and no white people on the metro. Those are the two things that have struck me most of all so far, but I haven't had time to fully get to grips with the place yet. A light plane hit a building on the upper east side today too, but I was nowhere near. More later.
Flying out this morning for the Faith and the State debate with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Frits Bolkestein, Bas Heijne and Tony Judt. Will report back as soon as possible...
Well, we all woke up to a slightly different world. With even Pakistan condemning the tests (there's an element of hypocrisy there, but still, it's the thought that counts) we are perhaps seeing a sudden wave of unity against Kim Jong-Il. All eyes are now on Northeast Asia.
There's also about to be a significant management handover, and for Ban Ki-Moon (who now looks almost certain to take over the reins at the UN) this is going to be a baptism of fire if ever there was one.
The question is, of course, what happens next? There's three main possibilities I can see.
Firstly, should North Korea pull another similar stunt in the near future, things are going to escalate further. The military solution is of course the nightmare scenario, but there is the chance that the US Army and the PLA would actually join forces and attack North Korea from both north and south. Under such a rapid attack, it's likely that the regime will fold within hours, but this will of course leave the PRC and ROK with an immense headache that they won't have immediate solutions for.
More likely is the turning of the economic screws. But this would also be calling Kim's bluff, since he has previously stated that sanctions will be seen as an act of war. Beijing will also be reluctant to implement this option, since once the DPRK begins to buckle then hordes of refugees will swarm across the Chinese border and create huge social problems in its northern provinces.
The last option is to do nothing - perhaps keep the intelligence work going but little more - and hope that the regime collapses by itself. This could take a long time. And Japan and South Korea will be tempted to develop their own nuclear defences in response, which will ratchet up regional tensions even further. China especially will find it hard to accept a nuclear-armed Tokyo, and Japan itself will convulse with disputes about its pacificist constitution, its role in world affairs and the legacy of Hiroshima.
Ban Ki-Moon, though ostensibly an international figure, is going to be inextricably bound up with the fate of what is after all his home country. Shinzo Abe too is faced with a huge crisis in his first weeks in office. Now is not a good time to be changing the staff; Kim probably knew that all along.
But can it bring its 'soft power' to bear without triggering total collapse in the Korean peninsula, which will have serious knock-on effects in the regional and global economies? More importantly - will it act?
Comment is free: China must restrain Pyongyang
The big challenge though is to China. While the United Nations can pass resolutions, China can take action. It is the major supplier of food and oil to North Korea.
The Kim regime has shown itself to be ruthlessly uninterested in the economic wellbeing of North Korea's people. But the only way to deal with this provocation is by economic, rather than military, force. China has the economic weapons.
A China responsibly taking the lead on behalf of the international community is one good thing that could come out of this unnerving situation.
In an otherwise dire situation. At least China has come of the fence: at least it is now on our side.
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | North Korea claims nuclear test
The White House said South Korean and US intelligence had detected a seismic event at a suspected test site.
The White House said the reported test was a "provocative act", while China denounced it as "brazen".
In an unusually strong statement against its ally, China expressed its "resolute opposition" to the claimed test and said it "defied the universal opposition of international society"
Today's good news:
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Japan visit warms ties with China
At a meeting in the capital, both sides said they hoped to overcome tensions that have hampered progress on trade, territorial and energy disputes.
The two nations also agreed that it would be "unacceptable" for North Korea to conduct a nuclear test, Mr Abe said.
And bad news:
BBC NEWS | Europe | Iran rejects six nations' demands
Iran has refused to suspend its uranium enrichment programme after six key countries agreed to discuss possible sanctions against Tehran.
A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry said suspension was "unacceptable" and the threat of sanctions "inefficient".
Who's got the back seat in both these stories? That's right - America. Traditionally, the new Japanese premier makes his first trip to Washington; by choosing Beijing instead, Shinzo Abe not only makes much-needed conciliatory overtures but a statement of realpolitik that the US is losing influence in the region. Same goes for Iran: the situation is governed by what China and Russia do, not America.
Hamed Karzai is proposing a Pashtun Loya Jirga involving elements from Afghanistan and Pakistan, both state and non-state actors. It sounds like an attempt to reach some kind of rapprochement with Pakistan and the rebels at the same time; perhaps too ambitious an ideal.
It is in some ways an admission of the illegitimacy of the border, the so-called Durand Line, clumsily drawn up by the British in 1893. The plan also sounds like an ideal arena for a couple of assasination attempts.
BBC NEWS | South Asia | Karzai for jirga to crush Taleban
"I am thinking of a meeting between Afghan civil society, Afghan elders, tribal chiefs, clergy and Afghan spiritual leadership plus the intellectuals. From the Pakistan side I am hoping for the same thing," Mr Karzai told this correspondent in an exclusive interview.
"It should be a gathering of the people from one end of the Afghan border with Pakistan to the other end."
Mr Karzai said the jirga would attempt to revive Pashtun civil society on both sides of the border in order to combat what he called the growing Talebanisation of the region.
Liberalisation is great, until it bites back. Such is probably the underlying message of the latest trade dispute between the EU and China. The latter, of course, can hardly be said to be a squeaky-clean example to the rest of us either; but when it begins calling on the WTO to fix Europe you know that things aren't working out.
Hopefully, the EU will figure out a clear and coherent China policy by the end of the year - it needs to.
BBC NEWS | Business | China threatens shoe retaliation
The EU is placing a tariff of 16.5% on leather shoes imported from China over the next two years.
Under pressure from manufacturers, the EU has accused China of "dumping" shoes in Europe at less than market prices.
Beijing said the tarrif, approved by one vote, was legally "defective" and not in accord with global trade rules.
With late-night TV-movie plots unfolding in the Amish school massacre and the Miss World hijacking, it's easy to overlook todays two more sobering stories, but the BBC's Paul Reynolds does make the effort to join the dots.
Both the North Korean announcement of a potential test and Iran's statement of refusal to suspend uranium enrichment are further blows to the authority of the UN and US interests. To resolve both situations, we have to look to China.
North Korea's activities may have a more long-term strategic effect, especially if South Korea and Japan feel obliged to go nuclear in order to enhance their self defence. This is the first big foreign policy test for new Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, who was quick to condemn North Korea's missile tests earlier in the year, and Beijing will no doubt be looking closely at what he has to say, or not say. But it certainly won't please China if an arms race emerges in East Asia, particularly one involving Japan. That would certainly complicate matters.
If China takes the lead over quelling Kim Jong-Il's unpredictable ambitions, it is more likely to sit back and watch the Iran situation, or even veto snactions in the UNSC.
In many ways, as a major trading partner of Iran, it is in China's interests to allow it to develop its capability and reinforce it as a friendly power in the Middle East in opposition to the US and Israel. Lack of censure from Beijing is sure to ease the flow of oil to China too.
In a sense, it's also fair to say that the Iran crisis is one of America's own making. Through its aggressive Middle East policy and pursuit of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, an Islamic nuclear conundrum was in a sense an inevitable consequence. On the other hand, China's support for North Korea in the 1950s have let it with an uncomfortable responsibility on its own doorstep.
While the US and Europe stand relegated the sidelines of both issues, China's role becomes ever the greater. But with nuclear weapons, the wait-and-see tactic is a risky one indeed. If things go wrong, can we expect China to be a responsible stakeholder in preventing a drama from becoming a crisis?
BBC story below. See also Asia Times Online, which examines in more detail US and Chinese relations with the extended 'Axis of Evil'. In short, while American political opinion is against the four, China's economic ties with them are on the increase:
The Bush administration's efforts to isolate Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela economically are implicitly designed to promote "regime change" from unfriendly to friendly government in each of these countries. Beijing has explicitly worked against Washington's isolation and regime-change endeavors by deepening its relations with Tehran, Pyongyang, Damascus and Caracas...
Continue reading "Two Balls in Beijing's Court" »
Asia Times Online says that foreign-sponsored 'Taliban', who are operating outside the 'Old School' Taliban defeated in 2001, are working to establish Pakistani interests in the Pashtun heartlands.
Think about the wheels within wheels here. If Tehran is sponsoring the Taliban, then NATO and US forces are fighting a proxy battle with Iran. If Islamabad is sponsoring the Taliban, then the fight is against Pakistan - and its sponsors, China, whereas the US and NATO could find allies in India. Even more complex, are the CIA and ISI in cahoots to inflitrate the Taliban to break Mullah Omar (if indeed he is alive or even matters any more?) Or are the CIA and ISI working at cross purposes?
Asia Times Online :: South Asia news - Pakistan reaches into Afghanistan
Afghanistan is at the point now that, apart from the Taliban, independent commanders have emerged. Nearly two centuries ago, they were sufficiently organized to drive out the Soviets.
Now, in their new struggle against foreign forces, they could evolve into a separate movement fueled by Iran or Pakistan, or both, or turn into an independent movement. Alternatively, as in the recent past, they could melt into the Taliban.
Whichever way it develops, this force will have an important bearing on Afghanistan's future - and, as important, its neighboring countries.
More interesting paragraphs, detailing the formation of various groups, below.
Continue reading "Who is Backing the Taliban?" »
Economics isn't my strong point, but I think that the upshot of the article is: "The US trade deficit is going to decrease its long-term politico-economic strength".
Guardian Unlimited Business | | America is living beyond its means
The US has struck a Faustian bargain with its trading partners, particularly China, responsible for about one third of the $700bn-plus trade total last year. As the American economist Tom Palley puts it: "US consumers get lots of cheap goods in return for which they give over paper IOUs that cost less to print. Meanwhile, China creates millions of jobs and builds modern factories that are transforming it into an industrial superpower, and it also accumulates billions of dollars in financial claims against the US. From this perspective, trade deficits don't matter because there are no limits to either government or private borrowing, and because manufacturing doesn't matter either." The logic of this, Palley notes drily, is that the US would benefit even further if China devalued its exchange rate and ran a larger trade surplus...
What would happen if, as a result of global developments over the coming decades, the dollar ceased to be the reserve currency of choice. This was a point raised by Avinash Persaud, one of the financial sector's more original thinkers, in a recent lecture in New York. Persaud's argument is as follows.
Throughout history, there has always tended to be one dominant reserve currency along with a host of lesser rivals. In the 19th century Britain was the pre-eminent economy and sterling was the main reserve currency. Yet currencies don't retain their dominance forever... The US is living beyond its means, hoping that nobody cashes the cheques it has been merrily writing as the current account has gone deeper into the red. That's the advantage of being a reserve currency, even though, as Persaud notes, there is no rule which says that you have to run current account deficits simply because you are a reserve currency.
Britain didn't a century ago. In the decade or so up to the first world war it had a trade surplus of 5% of GDP. "That is a mirror image of the US today. The UK was in surplus by as much as the US is in deficit." That deficit has enabled the Chinese to build up their industrial strength at a rapid rate, so much so that it is probable that China - and perhaps India - will have overtaken the US as the world's largest economy (on a purchasing power parity basis, at least) by 2050. Persaud thinks that the upshot of this will be that in the next few decades the dollar will start to lose its reserve status just as sterling did in the last century.
It's not just about corruption in Shanghai's top echelons: it's about party politics and patronage. "Killing the chicken to scare the monkeys", as The Economist puts it in the main article (reproduced below).
China | The harder they fall | Economist.com
President Hu Jintao is fighting to impose his authority on wayward localities which are defying efforts to rein in economic growth and prevent a frenzy of ill-considered investment that could further cripple the banking system with bad loans. Before a five yearly party congress late next year, Mr Hu also wants to install loyalists in key posts in the provinces. Mr Chen owed his job in Shanghai to Mr Hu's predecessor, Jiang Zemin, making him an obvious target. He is also widely rumoured to have attacked Mr Hu's economic-control measures at a meeting of the ruling Politburo two years ago.
By taking on Mr Chen—the first Politburo member to be dismissed in more than decade—Mr Hu is flexing his muscles. But he is also showing how little the party has changed. When he first came to power in 2002, he seemed to signal that he would make the party more open and subject to the rule of law. Instead, its investigations are still driven by politics. Corruption is just as rife. The 200-member Central Committee is supposed to monitor the work of the 24-member Politburo headed by Mr Hu, but at its annual meeting next month it will rubber-stamp whatever is put before it.
Continue reading "The Sacking of Chen Liangyu" »
There's been no doubt this last week over who's been generating the most column inches: his publishers must be ecstatic. However, the wisdom of what may have been intended to be Pervez Musharraf's book launch tour is in grave doubt.
It can't be easy for General Musharraf - who is, after all, an unelected dictator - to take part in so many unrehearsed media interviews, and his temper was clearly fraying. (He was in good company, with Bill Clinton publicly losing it too).
As if facing uncomfortable questions on both CNN's mainstream interview show Late Edition and the satirical Daily Show weren't enough, he also took considerable flak from the BBC's Newsnight which unearthed an MoD-sponsored analysis accusing Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) of supporting the Taliban.
With his enmity with Afghanistan's Hamed Karzai now in the open, and doubts over the seriousness of his relationship with the US and UK surfacing by the minute, Musharaff was already looking isolated. Then came the blunt announcement by Indian police that the ISI may have been directly involved in the Mumbai bombings.
It's looking like Musharaff's time for retirement is drawing closer: he should go now, before somebody decides for him - perhaps with a bullet. (Is it possible to overthrow a military dictatorship with a coup d'etat? Anything's possible in that part of the world.)
But whether a regime will contribute to Pakistan's stability or decrease it further remains to be seen. Like Tito in the former Yugoslavia, Musharraf has at least been successful in holding together the potential pit of vipers.
A power vacuum could unleash tragic forces, as we have seen in Iraq. The Taliban resurgence would receive a massive boost, with grave consequences for NATO; potential for war with India over Kasmir would increase; Balochs, Pashtuns, Punjabis and other groups would fight it out; and Iran, China and the US would be unable to stand back and watch.
Not forgetting that Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Fantastic. Wolf Blitzer I can understand, but what possessed him to appear on the Daily Show? I ask you.