Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Re-considering Benazir Bhutto's legacy

I did not know much about Benazir Bhutto's background and formed my views from what I have read about her over the past few years. And I must admit I was quite taken in by her charisma, so David Warren's column is a sobering antidote. Still, her views struck me as quite sensible regarding terrorist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Her approach to forming an understanding with Musharaf made political sense. And, perhaps by 54 years of age she had matured enough to modify behavior patterns and attitudes referred to by David Warren http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/columnists/story.html?id=42d0728d-4fbe-44b8-85bb-bf2e207ed265 and Gwyn Dyer http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10484953

The potential for a de facto coalition between her and the current President offered some hope for stability and progress for Pakistan and for stemming the Islamist insurgency.
She could have brought some democratic legitimacy and he could have helped control the military. We'll never know. That she had courage is indisputable and no small characteristic. However, there is a fine line between courage and recklessness, making her approach to campaigning irresponsible vis a vis the millions who supported her and the people who have suffered and died in the aftermath of her assassination.

N.B. Another link to check out regarding her short-sighted, though reluctant, cooperation with Pakistan's ISI to help arm the Taliban: http://www.thestar.com/columnists/article/290372

3 comments:

Hank E. Tonkman said...

I found David Warren's column to be disturbing. I too know little about the woman, but he was basically saying she was no good because she was born into privilege. (Maybe she spurned his advances in university). She did have courage and conviction which would indicate she rose above the "spoiled brat" he had met many, many years earlier. And if he was going to judge a leader by their privilege and youthful arrogance, then where does that put his beloved George Bush?

Duche

Laszlo Detre said...

I agree that spoiled brat argument is facile. It can apply to many political leaders - good and bad. But I think he was saying more than that. Namely that her character flaws of arrogance and egocenrtic irresponsibility, born of privilege, carried over into her calculated choice of an arguably corrupt husband (appointed as a Minister in her government);her disastrous two terms as President (See the Gwyn Dyer and the Toronto Star links) and her irresponsible mode of campaigning. I did not know Warren was a fan of Bush.

Katalin said...

Read your commentary on Benazir Bhutto on your blog. I went to the Ottawa Citizen Link and to the New Zealand Herald link and found those articles to be interesting and enlightening. It made me aware of how terribly misinformed we all are of all the facts in most situations and how we, including yours truly, can draw some very emphatic and possibly erroneous conclusions. Quite indicative of the out of control reactive state of affairs of today. The Buddhist stance that all things are an illusion comes to mind and the New Age thought that we create our reality. Sadly, this explains the often visceral responses of the “prozac” medicated time-challenged masses. Would do us all well to stop and ponder a while and get informed as best we can before jumping to conclusions and thereby avoid the mire of hysteria fueled by fear and ignorance. My sense is that that the truth is always found somewhere in the middle between the two extremes and that nothing is totally categorical. I admire your ability to state the points without making it personal and slamming either columnist. Thanks for your insights and for making ME ponder.