Between two hegemons

The late-June Bush-Musharraf Camp David show seems to have been widely accepted as a great success, at least in the corporate media's projection of things. That being said, if a nationwide poll were conducted in Pakistan, it is likely that most Pakistanis would judge the meeting as eyewash, because history has taught us that ordinary Pakistanis are always the losers in such games. Nevertheless, the public relations exercise was executed more or less effectively – General Musharraf has received the green light from those who matter to carry on with his unique form of "sustainable democracy" in Pakistan.

One interesting issue stood out in the Camp David discussions. George W Bush minced no words when he said that Musharraf had pushed hard for the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, originally sold in 1988-89. Musharraf seems to link the delivery of the fighter jets to ensuring Pakistan's "sovereign equality" vis-à-vis India – getting the jets would be no less than US acknowledgement that Pakistan's stance on India is legitimate and acceptable. It is therefore quite symbolic that Bush unambiguously asserted that the USD three billion package offered to Pakistan does not include the F-16s.

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Himal Southasian