According to Musharraf, in order to get Pakistan’s help in the “war on terror” after September 11, 2001, Richard Armitage’s argument was more Corleone-ish than Clintonian, all stick and no carrot.
In an interview to be aired on CBS television this weekend Pakistan’s president, General Pervez Musharraf, said the threat was delivered by the assistant secretary of state, Richard Armitage, in conversations with Pakistan’s intelligence director.
“The intelligence director told me that (Mr Armitage) said, ‘Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the stone age’,” Gen Musharraf was quoted as saying. The revelation that the US used extreme pressure to secure Pakistan’s cooperation in the war on terror arrived at a time of renewed unease in the US about its frontline ally.
Gen Musharraf told CBS he was stunned at the bluntness of the US approach in the aftermath of the attacks. “I think it was a very rude remark,” he said. But he yielded to the request.
I’ve wondered about the sweaty fist of American diplomacy — which I often sum up as “do something about it, bitch!” — and whether or not the actual language is euphemistic or whether diplomats sometimes, as my father would say, call a “spade” a “fucking shovel.”
This sort of language doesn’t surprise me from this administration, but I’d be curious to know if this is a change in behavior or if behind the scenes this is normal behavior for the powerful “negotiators.”