Your Lying Eyes

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22 September 2006

U.S. Threatened Musharraf

President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan said that after the September 11 attacks the US threatened to bomb his country if it did not co-operate with America's war against the Taliban in Afghanistan."The intelligence director told me that (Armitage) said, 'Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age,'" Gen Musharraf said. "I think it was a very rude remark."
Rude, perhaps. But isn't this the essence of "Big Stick" diplomacy, something that's been sorely lacking of late? Isn't it preferable to be making threats, however unseemly, in private, than having the president out front bombastically issuing ultimatums, and getting everyone riled up? The idea behind big-stick dimplomacy is that you save the tough words for the guys in charge - the ones who have the most to lose - while publicly making nice. Since Armitage was Powell's right hand man, this does not surprise me, and it's too bad the General ended up with so little sway in this Administration in the post 9/11 maneuverings.

Here's a clip of Teddy Roosevelt's biographer, Edmund Morris, talking about a classic big-stick TR moment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion, only a blustering moron would make a remark like that to ally.

Intellectual Pariah

September 23, 2006 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And no, it's not "Big Stick" diplomacy, if you're referring to Teddy Roosevelt's maxim about talking softly and carrying a big stick. TR's point was that the truly powerful don't have to bluster and threaten.


September 23, 2006 8:29 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

The point is that the threat was made privately, and had not Musharraf not revealed it himself no one would know about it. That's big stick diplomacy - not that you don't make threats, but that you do so privately - and have the big stick to back them up. Here, a big stick was needed to make sure Musharraf knew there could be no equivocating, which would have been very tempting for him given the internal dynamics in Pakistan.

Here's Edmund Morris giving a classic example of TR's modus operandi.

September 23, 2006 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Musharraf really an ally? I don't know. His recent comment about Bush threatening to bomb his country is probably to keep the Jihadi element in Pakistan off his back. A significant group of people in Pakistan want Mushrraf dead (maybe the ISI, maybe Al-Qaeda types, maybe just regular Pakistanis who hate him for a variety of reasons)so this may be a way for them to see that he is not an American puppet.

September 24, 2006 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the speech Musharraf gave before the U.S. went into Afghanistan. The man was plainly terrified, begging his people to trust him as they did when he talked to the Indians in the years before. The wording may not have been as spectacular as he claims, but I have no doubt that something like it was said, and rightfully so. The Iraq War was a blunder, but the Afghanistan War was necessary.

September 25, 2006 11:01 AM  

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