This week has made it clear to the world that the US isn’t too terribly interested in democracy in Pakistan. There has been a lot of talk about Bush’s retreat from talk of liberty and freedom and a lot of frowning on the administration’s decision to continue supporting Musharraf financially and militarily while he trades prisoners with the Taliban and jails lawyers and judges, ostensibly as part of the “war on terror.” Journalists and pundits are quick to show the gap between Bush’s actions and his rhetoric.
Sure, this may be the case, but where have these people been? Is this actually news to anyone? One has to look at Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Thailand or Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan to see how serious this administration ever was about the “freedom agenda.”
Pakistan is just the most recent, if not the most egregious, example of how lip service to democracy and human rights is little more than so much hot air. Let’s not be naive here. The Bush administration talks the talk about democracy when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan — and maybe applies some sanctions when it’s not inconvenient, like in Burma — but at the end of the day, the freedom agenda obviously comes in second place when fossil fuels are concerned.