Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Musharraf's Talking Points

Yesterday I attended a talk by the former President of Pakistan, General Musharraf, who spoke at the Baker Institute at Rice University. Here are the talking points that I imagine he would have outlined for himself, had he been perfectly objective about the content of his talk. You can view his full talk here.

[Stylized] Talking Points for His Excellency General Pervez Musharraf
  • Intro: The deterioration in relations between the US and Pakistan is unfortunate. In my time, I had great relations with President Bush [...mostly because he was glad I was cooperating and I was glad he wasn't invading us.]
  • Thesis: Pakistan is the sufferer, the victim, and not the perpretrator, of terrorism. [Any actual violence supported by the state—say, in Kashmir—is actually freedom fighting, stemming from overwhelming public support for the cause].
  • Pakistan faces four main challenges: terrorism, extremism, terrorism, and extremism
  • Some FAQs:
    • What accounts for the "antipathy" of Pakistanis towards America?
      • America betrayed Pakistan in 1989. With the Cold War over, America left an anarchical Afghanistan that Pakistan wasn't able to handle; this in spite of Pakistan helping during the war effort against the Soviets.
    • What accounts for the current extremist problem in Pakistan?
      • The Betrayal of 1989
    • What accounts for the strength of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda?
      • The Betrayal of 1989
      • US failure in Afghanistan
  • Let's not get too distracted by Afghanistan, though. The real threat to regional stability is India. India is the clear enemy.
    • India is setting up an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan. For instance, Afghanistan sends its forces to train in India, but not once have they come to Pakistan.
    • India is not resolving the Kashmir dispute, which spurs attacks [not that we discourage that].
    • It's not fair that India gets special treatment and we don't. The world is, for some reason, hostile to our nuclear weapons. But our nuclear weapons are the pride of our people, even down to the most illiterate man, a symbol of our acheievement [even if they had to 'eat dust' for it, right?].
    • The stump speech: There is currently no strong candidate for election next year, so I'm "offering myself as a third alternative."
      • Be selfless: "I'm not doing this for myself. I'm comfortable already, I make good money, I could live anywhere in the world. But the people of Pakistan need a leader like me."
    • (Since I have to): We did not, did not, did not know about Osama bin Laden. We did not. [Delivered somewhat like this].
    Note to self: Be respectful. Make sure to address audience as "ladies and gentlemen." The more, the better.

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