Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton says U.S. intervention in Pakistani politics was a factor in the assassination of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
“In part the United States is responsible for this by pushing (Pakistani President Pervez) Musharraf to try and cut a deal with Benazir Bhutto, by encouraging her to go back in the country, by trying to act like we could have a democratic election campaign in a situation with great instability,” Bolton told the Fox News Channel this afternoon.
“I think the notion that by bringing Benazir Bhutto back to Pakistan we could facilitate moving to a Democratic system has obviously turned out to be incorrect.”
He said he thinks “this tragedy should guide us now as to what we do next, which I think ought to be declaring a time-out on internal politics; let’s re-stabilize, it probably will require a period of martial law.” “But let’s keep our eyes on the prize. For the United States, that’s the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.”
“Let’s not forget either the failed assassination attempt against (former Pakistani Prime Minister) Nawaz Sharif today.” “So it’s obviously the intention of somebody, if those attempts were linked, to throw things into greater instability. That is the circumstance under which you could have a radical Islamicist regime come to power and get control of those nuclear weapons. That’s absolutely the worst-case scenario.”
The former American ambassador to the United Nations says he has no confidence in the political leaders’ ability to secure Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
“The issue is who can keep secure command and control over the nuclear weapons. I don’t think any of the civilian leaders could have done that which is why I didn’t see facilitating their return to power was in U.S. interests.”
“Right now I think you’ve got the risk that the military itself will fragment. It’s possible that elements of the military were involved in this, the radical Islamicist elements, and the last thing we need to do is have a further deterioration of the situation which I think continued politicking would almost certainly bring about.”
“The idea we should be pushing Pakistan into elections next month, I think is fraught with peril for the United States,” Bolton told Fox.
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