"From the gut (and the heart)"
Editorials by Paul Olivier
On Musharraf's Visit
The historical significance of prez. Musharraf must be recognized as not just for the US, but for the whole World.
To see Musharraf as a dictator, because he came to power in a coup and not by "democratic" election, would be a grave mistake. 
As with many of the middle and near eastern countries, emotions can run wild and this combined with less fear of death, demonstration are many and easily become violent.
"Democratic" is also a nice concept dealing with reasonable people. However the not to ignore result is the ineffable result is the success of the "lowest common denominator!"
This is not to bad in highly developed countries such as the Scandinavian, but it works at the cost to everyone if applied to the US. The wisdom of the Nation's Founders made it a Republic and a federation of States in a Union.
Pakistan is a young nation with old cultures and only independent (from India) since 1947; it went and still is going through some tough times. The two previous governments, in name democratically (demagogly) elected, became quickly corrupt.
Musharraf has brought relative stability and security to the nation of 150 to 175 million people.
His plans to reshape the education "system" thus far in the control of the religious who gave no attention to teaching basic knowledge, is an important long range move to bring Pakistan into the present time World. This would be impossible without control by the army. Musharraf and his vision for Pakistan will be more than a stabilizing influence in the Middle East; it will be a force for rationality in the whole region and result in peace and prosperity.
The US administration of this critical time, has shown to understand this better than I can describe in this little blurr.
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