The Musharraf Era Ends « The Washington Independent
Yes, that just happened:
Under pressure over impending impeachment charges, President Pervez Musharraf announced he would resign Monday, ending nearly nine years as one of the United States’ most important allies in the campaign against terrorism.
Speaking on television from his presidential office here at 1 p.m., Mr. Musharraf, dressed in a gray suit and tie, said that after consulting with his aides, “I have decided to resign today.” He said he was putting national interest above “personal bravado.”
Such an enemy of personal bravado is Musharraf that he closed his address, according to The New York Times, by pumping his fist and bellowing "Long live Pakistan!" As of the moment, it’s unclear who will replace Musharraf as president, as the new governing coalition is rife with infighting and has to elevate someone within a month.
Just because Musharraf is out doesn’t mean things are going to get better. In fact, it’s a mistake to view any country, but specifically Pakistan, as the product of a single strongman. To go back to something I wrote on Friday, the job of the next administration is to build ties with Pakistan — the nuclear-armed South Asian power that, among other things, has an uninvited guest named Osama bin Laden — that go beyond the contingency of the moment. It’s inconceivable that the Bush administration could have surveyed the post-9/11 landscape, observed the centrality of Pakistan to the war on terror, and said, "You know what we should do? Base our ties to Pakistan on a mercurial dictator." The next administration may have to distance itself from the U.S. in order to underscore the end of the Musharraf era, and if so, that’s a mistake the U.S. can ill-afford at a time of resurgent al-Qaeda in Pakistan and rising U.S. casualties in Afghanistan.