The US and Democracy in Pakistan

Military dictators have been Washington's preferred interlocutors in Islamabad. But they can't get the job done

Gerald Herbert / AP

President Bush walks with Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf at the White House.

Pervez Musharraf's resignation has set Washington's chattering classes aquiver over the uncertainties now facing Pakistan. Bush Administration officials and foreign-affairs columnists alike are wringing their hands over questions about Pakistan's stability, the security of its nukes, the conduct of its military, the reliability of its politicians, the intentions of its extremists and, not least, the extent of the country's enthusiasm for the global war on terror.

The most pertinent question, though, is one that Washington should ask itself: Can the United States work with a democratic government in Pakistan?

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