Dividing the country
IN Pakistan, political posturing has taken a new twist. If opposition is touching new low against military, the ruling coalition is not lagging behind.
Trump’s story from American democracy should help Pakistan understand dirty politics for dividing the country.
All stakeholders will have to save democracy otherwise military will do what it takes to unite the country.
It may not be perfect solution but then politicians, academics and (Murdoch) media cannot blame others.
Trump put Gen Milley in charge of a military campaign to crack down on the nationwide George Floyd protests, Michael Bender (WSJ) wrote in his new book, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost.
” Trump wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 and deploy active-duty troops in Washington D C.
He demanded law enforcement officials to shoot the protestors and crack open their skulls.
Milley refused to deploy military in the Capitol Hill. Milley shouted back when Trump screamed at him for refusing to violate law.
Goddamnit, Milley said to others in the room, which included Ex-AG Barr and Ex-Defence Secretary Mark Esper.
There’s a room full of lawyers here. Will someone inform him of my legal responsibilities?
Barr told Trump that the general is right, Bender recounted. Trump denied this as fake news.
If he would have shouted back at me. I would have fired him. Then Trump tried to fire Milley but failed.
He demanded Milley be charged for treason for contacting his Chinese counterpart. He asked his close associates to go on TV and demand Milley should be charged with treason.
Republicans called Milley ‘traitor,’ and said he should be fired or court-martialed (30 June 2021, New York Post).
Biden refused to fire Milley, but two years have passed and still there is no action against the top culprits who divided the country.
Milley also asked US Congress to cut powers of the President or live to regret it. Congress failed to act, and the world saw Jan 6.
Democrats led in popular vote in 2016 but failed to end gerrymandering in 2022 to end safe seats.
Under election reforms, UK opposition leader Kier Starmer defied calls for changes to FPTP voting system with alternate vote for ending [Tory] safe seats and strengthening democracy (24 Sept 2022, the Guardian).
MPs in Boris Johnson family show dynastic politics in UK. From intelligence reports, Trump knew he was going to lose elections.
He put loyalists in top defence posts. The hearings of Jan 6 Committee show that Capitol Hill attack was planned, and transfers were made to reject election results, block transfer of power and derail democracy.
Milley had to make a speech telling America that US military is independent from politics. It uphold the Constitution and does not take oath to an individual.
Trump was an out of the box candidate who was given chance because he was rich and wanted to drain cesspool of corruption in the Capitol, but he refused to leave power.
He admired tenure ‘for life’. Maybe America was fed up with two party system, dynastic politics and politicizing of military under one page policy.
Pakistan also wanted to end two party system imposed through CoD so that multiparty parliamentary democracy serves the public instead of rulers.
If Trump government was undermining democratic system of check and balance in America, the Tory government in the UK has been no different.
Reportedly, UK government ministers flout law at will (Gavin Williamson forced to reign 9 Nov 2022 BBC).
Law enforcement is failing public (Sarah Everard protests)and there is no progress against mega Covid corruption.
The plight of judiciary in both countries self-explanatory. Politicians are above the law in the UK and US.
Like 90 British MPs (£4Meach), there is no progress on corruption allegations against Hunter-Biden ($11M).
Similarly, there is no action against Boris Johnson’s father (MP) for groping allegations (The Times 16 Nov 2021).
Politicians are more loyal to their parties than [their] offices and oaths. Trump’s son-in-law got $2bn (11 April 2022, Bloomberg) and escaped accountability by testifying against his father-in-law in Jan 6 Committee.
Clearly, presidential and parliamentary forms of democracy are failing to serve public in the West.
Politicians demand control of military, judiciary and bureaucracy in the name of democracy but they are not ready to be held accountable under the same rule of law.
Look at the top-level postings and firings in the last days of Trump as President. It was only military that blocked him.
Pakistan is facing similar attacks on its institutions and democracy. Politicians use their unlimited powers to impose fake wars and tell lies to their nations and armed forces and get away with it.
Ukraine War is the latest example. Europe never stopped buying Russian gas. But Pakistan military is criticized for keeping the country out of Iraq and Yemen wars.
Politicians order conscription for fake wars and never held accountable for it. That is why Pakistan needs to restore balance of power for saving democracy and keeping the country united.
—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.