“Realism” and the crisis in Pakistan

The Washington Post reports that President Musharraf has agreed to hold parliamentary elections by February 15, 2008, and has reiterated plans to step down as head of the army. The Post suggests that Musharraf did so in part due to pressure from the Bush administration.
There are two possible explanations for why the administration would pressure Musharraf to take these measures. First, it may have concluded that the fight against terrorist forces in Pakistan will go better if elections are held early next year and if Musharraf no longer leads the army. In theory, this is a sound reason to pressure Musharraf, but I wonder whether the administration understands the situation in Pakistan well enough soundly to reach these conclusions.
Alternatively, the administration may have concluded that Musharraf should hold elections and should step down from the army because these are the proper things for him to do, regardless of the implications for fighting terrorists in Pakistan. In that instance, I think it would be proper given the stakes to object to the administration’s policy on foreign policy “realist” grounds.


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