Begging Off

Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf is backing down in a most spectacular fashion. Now he says plainly, “I don’t want to start a war.”

“President Musharraf has made it very clear that he is searching for peace and he won’t be the one to initiate a war,” Mr Armitage said after the talks. He said he was looking for similar assurances from Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Indian prime minister.


Musharraf has also said he’ll let Indian troops help patrol the Line of Control, and ordered his secretive (and not always mindful) ISA to stop helping the Kashmiri terrorists.

There’s a problem here. If Musharraf keeps kowtowing without either drawing a line or standing up somewhere, he could provoke India into making really, truly stupid demands — and thus bringing on either a civil war, or the war with India he’s trying to avoid.

I don’t say this to slam India; I think India is mostly in the right over Kashmir. I’m just not certain Musharraf isn’t making things worse rather than better.


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