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November 05, 2007

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Also in the Terror Free Tomorrow survey, Shariah gets 41% but improving the economy, free elections, judiciary and press and resolving the Kashmir issue all get higher percentages saying that long-term goal is very important.

Since all these goals were asked as separate questions, there is no prioritization. This is apparent if you add the "very important" and "somewhat important" replies which total about 80% for all of the questions.

PS. Can I channel Gary and say that I blogged about it 2 weeks ago?

Pollsters are always leery of responses they get from people who just went through a dramatic life experience or tragedy.

Polling firms that have been contracted to poll in places like Iran have difficulty, because respondents fear that it's the government doing it in order to compile lists of potential trouble makers.

So...how about people who live under a 24/7, 365 day a year military dictatorship? Might their answers be biased by such exterior influences?

And, um, that green line? That's the PML. Who do you think founded that party? Any guess? WHy might they score so high in these recent polls?

Hmmmm....

kevin6497: The green line is the PML-N, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group. This is the center right party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who was PM from 1990-93 and 1997-99.

Who founded that party? PML-N was of course founded by Nawaz Sharif by breaking away from another PML. The original PML was named as such at the birth of Pakistan from its previous name of All India Muslim League which was founded in 1906.

PML-N is one of the two most popular Pakistani parties, along with PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) of Benazir Bhutto. Two reasons I can offer for the recent increase in popularity of the PML-N are:

This poll was conducted just around the time Nawaz Sharif was returning from exile (Sept 10, 2007). He was actually packed off to Saudia as he arrived.

And Bhutto probably lost some popularity due to her deal with Musharraf. Plus Musharraf and his (?) PML-Q are really unpopular right now.

And, if s/he does not want to engage in what I have called "cost analysis"
A link to your post on that would likely be useful for those who haven't yet read it.

Fine post, as usual, of course.

But ... but ... they're scary brown Islamo-fascists who attacked us on 9-11!

And they have nukes! Made by that Khan guy who attacked China! And the Enterprise!

You know what Cheney says -- if it's a 1% threat, we gotta treat it like it's certain!

Probably best to just bomb them into a glass parking lot. To be on the safe side.

Do it for The Troops!

"This poll was conducted just around the time Nawaz Sharif was returning from exile (Sept 10, 2007). He was actually packed off to Saudia as he arrived."

Zack, right. Which makes me wonder about the respondents, who answered, how it was conducted, etc. The response rate was high, with a tight margin of error. But the respondents were predominantly from the rural regions, and in-person using the Kish method. This was conducted over two weeks, in a region that has seen rapid change in a matter of hours and days.

Perhaps I am being too picky, but I'm propisng we throw all survey data off the table while discussing a nation in chaos.

Bhutto's popularity will no doubt waver. It's not as if she's viewed as a conquering hero there. She represents yet another poison for the Pakistanis to pick. Military dictatorship, Islamic government or feudal corruption. Which do you choose?

Guess what Hilzoy- I favor Pakistani democracy.

I don't perceive the problem to be an electoral success for the Islamists in the event of democratic elections. A stable democracy would, IMO, lead to a Pakistan more amenable to Western interests. My fear is instability. If Musharraf falls in a violent uprising, it is likely that the military will take control, and the complex internal politics of the Pakistani military are hard to assess, especially when we consider several cycles of instability. It only takes one bad cycle putting Islamists in control of even parts of the military to start the ball rolling towards disaster.

Good write up hilzoy.

13% of the Iranian people believe that Sharia must rule. Ahmedinejad and the Mullahs are reportedly very unpopular in Iran. Nevertheless, the Iranians are ruled by Mullahs. Gays are hung from cranes. The reason the Mullahs are able to rule over the Iranian population is the power of the teachings of Mohammed. As time has proven, his system of government is brilliant. It is a mistake to underestimate the power of Islam, even when it is unpopular.

What percentage of the Pakistani people believe that Sharia must rule? 13% like in Iran? Double that (26%)? Triple that (39%)?

Answer: 60% (Gallup polling attached). Another 21% of Pakistanis believe that Sharia must be a source of legislation, but not the only source.

Pakistan has a lethal combination of a pious majority, violence sanctioned through its state religion, and a modern nuclear stockpile. It is no place for President Bush to be spreading freedom to ‘ordinary moms and dads’ through democracy. As if he had the power.

But the bigger threat is not Islam through democracy, it is the religious elements in the military. There are probably men making plans as we type. They are on a mission from God.

http://media.gallup.com/MuslimWestFacts/PDF/GALLUPMUSLIMSTUDIESIslamandDemocracy030607rev.pdf

kevin6497:

But the respondents were predominantly from the rural regions

That's as it should be, considering the distribution of population. Most opinion surveys in Pakistan, for example the Pew Global Attitudes survey, have a predominantly urban sample.

This was conducted over two weeks, in a region that has seen rapid change in a matter of hours and days.

I would have really liked to see how the survey results compared pre-Sharif-arrival and after his re-exile.

However, IRI has collected a good series due to frequent surveys. Even if the individual survey data is not that good, it gives us a trend line.

"The reason the Mullahs are able to rule over the Iranian population is the power of the teachings of Mohammed."

The reason the mullahs are able to rule over the Iranian population is that boiling hatred of the Shah, put into power by the U.S. and Britain's Operation Ajax, and SAVAK's widespread oppression of the populace, complete with extensive use of torture, combined with the U.S. policy thereafter of having no contact with other political elements in Iran, whether by the State Department or CIA or any other part of the U.S. government, led to the only channel for political resistance, and eventually rebellion, in Iran, being the religious one.

Thus Iran's revolution in 1979 was religously based, and thus the mullahs came to power, and have carried on out of inertia, and uses of the instrumentalities of the governing structure they've created.

Not out of any magical, mystical, power of the teachings of Mohammed, or any unique appeal of either Islam, or religion to the Iranian populace, which is nowadays, in its strict form, as you semi-allude to, "very unpopular" amongst most of the younger generation, as well as plenty of those who long since lost the fervor of revolution.

"13% of the Iranian people believe that Sharia must rule."

Pew poll, August 24, 2006, of the U.S. population:

[...] For example, six-in-ten white evangelical Protestants say that the Bible should be the guiding principle in making laws when it conflicts with the will of the people [....]
And 16% of white mainline Christians agreed, as did 7% of secular Americans.

Of Americans overall:

[...] When asked which should have more influence over the laws of the country ­ the Bible or the will of the people, even when it conflicts with the Bible ­ most Americans (63%) say the people's will should have more sway. A significant minority (32%), however, believes the Bible should be more important.
32% is a lot more than 13%, last I looked.

HTH.

But you're not interested in conversation, are you?

Gary;

I'm watching the Lutherans also, just like you. Maybe we can compare notes in a decade.

"I'm watching the Lutherans also, just like you. Maybe we can compare notes in a decade."

Bill, if you offer a statistic, or quote, or bit of information, to make a point, and someone refutes or debunks the information, switching premises isn't an alternative method of supporting the point. It means that your point wasn't supportable.

Gary;

Time for bed. In my defense, all I can offer is one link. People should read it. All of it. And then do some theory-to-practice with current events. Take care. And watch out for those Lutherans, especially those guys from Minnesota.

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/reference/searchhadith.html

Interesting of you to mention Lutherans. You know, we have been successful in founding a rather theocratic, aggressive state which actually threatened the security of Europe for several decades. That state was Sweden and the epoch was 17th century.

In 1608, the law of Moses was declared to be straightly applicable in all courts of law inside the Swedish realm. The Lutheran orthodoxy was strict: all subjects of the realm were required, on the pain of death or lifetime exile, to confess the Lutheran faith. Partaking in holy communion at least once a year and attending church every week was mandatory for everyone. To facilitate control, everyone had a fixed seat in the church, according to their position in society. On the other hand, the indoctrination of population lead to the birth of the first popular education systems in 1680's. The skill of reading (not writing) was a requirement to be capable of starting a valid marriage.

In foreign policy, Sweden was rather aggressive. The Swedish army took part in the 30-years war in 1629-1648, repeatedly engaging in atrocities, primarily against Catholics. E.g. in Bohemia 1635-36, the population dropped by two thirds as a result of the Swedish occupation. My countrymen, the Finns were particularly known for being bloodthirsty. (At that time, we were part of Sweden.)

In Northern Europe, we have tried aggressive fanatic fundamentalism. It may be fun to read afterwards and gives a lot of battles for schoolchildren to memorize. However, it is not very good for the society.

beware creeping Lutherofascism

I blame lutefisk.

I guess the ethical question this raises is:

If there was strong evidence that a democratic election in Pakistan would lead to an Islamic Fundamentalist Government, what should our policy towards Musharraf be?

Hilzoy, reading between the lines, it seems that in such a case you would regard a realist/utilitarian position favouring the suppression of democracy as a possible ethically defensible stance, but it would be interesting if you could elaborate, maybe I got you wrong.

"One hardly has to regard General Musharraf a saint in order to appreciate that his removal would more likely usher in an era of Sharia and jihad than New-England-town-meeting-style democracy."

Gee, they changed their tune mighty fast, didn't they?

"One hardly has to regard Saddam Hussein a saint in order to appreciate that his removal would more likely usher in an era of Sharia and jihad than New-England-town-meeting-style democracy."

"....all that stands between us and a nuclear-armed Islamist state.."

That's what Lord Cheney has been saying for the last six years.

And if it isn't true now, it soon will be.

It wasn't that long ago that the US was a responsible member of the world community; a participant in the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty; an Adherent to the Geneva Conventions; a nation governed by law.

The Swedish army took part in the 30-years war in 1629-1648, repeatedly engaging in atrocities, primarily against Catholics. E.g. in Bohemia 1635-36, the population dropped by two thirds as a result of the Swedish occupation.

Not to defend the Lutherofascists in 17th Century Sweden or anything, but the Swedish army was no more atrocity prone than any of the others participating in the 30 Years War, perhaps less, being better disciplined.

Good post, Hilzoy.

Line by line rebuttal of hysterical warnings of the danger of Scandinavian Lutherans = lutefisking.

One of the things that gives me hope about Pakistan is that the removal of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has lead to rioting. By lawyers. That's commitment to the rule of law.

novakant: Actually, my argument here was supposed to parallel an argument I've made about torture. Namely: I'd be prepared to argue that torture is flat wrong even if it works, but since there's no evidence that it actually does, generally, I don't see why we even have to have that argument, except out of a kind of theoretical interest.

I think there are cases in which, given an existing non-democratic government, I'd be prepared to say: possibly this is not the best time to democratize. I think one needs to be wary of such arguments, both because it's easy to come up with reasons why it's never the right time, and because a lot of the things that make it seem like not the right time are problems best addressed by letting people take responsibility and learn to exercise it. But in principle, I think there might be times when it looked as though the party that would win would be, say, genocidal, and in that case -- supposing an existing non-democratic government that was not itself genocidal, etc. -- I can imagine thinking: well, OK, now might not be the best time. Likewise, following (say) some catastrophe that drove the people of the country wild with grief, and for which many of them blamed some minority, or a neighbor, I can imagine thinking: maybe it would be best to give things a few years to die down.

This is all pretty sketchy, since I am not in a position in which my views on the subject matter much. In principle, I do not think my commitment to democracy trumps literally everything, or that there is no possible case in which I might be inclined to think: OK, hold off a few years. I do, however, think that I should be very, very skeptical of such arguments. And the claim that a country was going to be taken over by Islamists were elections to be held would not per se lead me to the conclusion that elections should not be held.

Has anyone here actually watched a Lutheran for any appreciable length of time?

Talk about boring! They spend a lot of time looking at the weather and discussing it in one word sentences, all pessimistic.

Their conservatism is extreme, however. I once tried to sneak a fourth bean into the three-bean salad at a picnic and you'd have thought Jim Morrison had just unzipped.

Excessive Lutheranism can lead to a life of constant drollery --- just ask Garrison Keillor.

Seriously, though, I think Hilzoy, Gary, and company are on the right track. Thing is, the Islamist radicals in Pakistan know their popularity is dicey, so they are throwing their lot in as one more voice among the popular dissent against Musharref and military rule.

That seems a smart strategy. What it will lead to is anyone's guess.

It could lead to people hacking each other up, as occurred during Partition.

And if you've ever sat at Sunday supper and watched your Lutheran uncle light into the pot roast with gleaming cutlery, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

The first modern Norwegian constitution (1814) excluded all Jews from the realm in paragraph 2. It also declared Lutheranism the state religion. This exclusion was dropped only in 1851 against considerable protest. Under Nazi occupation Norway officially readopted it.
But at least Luther did not (unlike Calvin) make himself head of a theocracy that executed dissenters.

This is all pretty sketchy, since I am not in a position in which my views on the subject matter much. In principle, I do not think my commitment to democracy trumps literally everything, or that there is no possible case in which I might be inclined to think: OK, hold off a few years. I do, however, think that I should be very, very skeptical of such arguments. And the claim that a country was going to be taken over by Islamists were elections to be held would not per se lead me to the conclusion that elections should not be held.

I could not possibly imagine why hilzoy took a "vacation" to Pakistan last summer, except that she is interested in health issues in the Third World and the in-between (I suppose that is "Second World). When you have a country teetering between a dictatorship and an abyss, what do you do? This is not a question that should be answered in the context of US election politics. Most likely, Hillary Clinton is going to win the 2008 election. Given the choice of Pakistan completely going to hell, and some other alternative, wouldn't it be best to delay a confrontation with the jihadists, and try to build a coalition for the non-sharia types?

This is some very tricky diplomatic doings, as emphasized by questions about Condi Rice's insistence that elections take place in January, at the latest.

Pakistan is a very unique and dangerous situation. We should not want this to get more screwed up for partisan political reasons.

"But in principle, I think there might be times when it looked as though the party that would win would be, say, genocidal, and in that case -- supposing an existing non-democratic government that was not itself genocidal, etc. -- I can imagine thinking: well, OK, now might not be the best time."

Say in Algeria in 1991. Islamists won election; military said 'no you don't.' Thousands slaughtered in a ten year dirty war.

I'm not claiming I know any answers, but I do think that's a related example.

The TFT question is so poorly stated for the use to which it is being put that I suspect that it is deliberate. If one were to think that AVOIDING strict sharia law was the most important objective, how would one answer that question? People here, and at TFT, seem to be assuming that the obvious response would be to say "Not at all important." That is really not clear to me.

>>41.2% said that implementing strict Shari'a was very important, 34.8% that it was somewhat important, and the remaining 34% said that it was somewhat unimportant, not at all important, or that they didn't know.

If the Pakistani population is 110% of itself, we're in bigger trouble than I thought.

Excessive Lutheranism can lead to a life of constant drollery --- just ask Garrison Keillor.

Keillor isn't actually Lutheran, though, which makes the Lutheran comedy scene seem even bleaker.

Thanks for the clarification, hilzoy. Your views might be a bit sketchy, but I think that has to do with the nature of the beast, and my stance on this is quite similar.

Just wanted to say good stuff hilzoy.

The exchange between novakant and hilzoy reminded me of Fareed Zakaria's _The Future of Freedom_, in which he argues basically that democracy isn't that great: the great thing is constitutional liberalism, which is certainly not inextricably linked with democracy. He further argues (or argued, I think it was 2000 when he wrote it) that most societies aren't ready for democratization unless the income-per-capita is around $4,500, more or less; and that democratization tends to be more successful in societies that were autocratic, began to liberalize in part because of the increasing wealth of the country, and only then began to install democratic institutions.

Sorry, that "around $4,500" should be "at least $4,500", and I also apologize for not having time to flesh out what I remember of his argument more; I am trying to finish a significantly overdue report tonight.

Interesting of you to mention Lutherans. You know, we have been successful in founding a rather theocratic, aggressive state which actually threatened the security of Europe for several decades.

You weren't alone.

It took western Europe a couple of centuries of slitting each others' throats to finally decide to try to learn to just get along.

If a Muslim nation wants to run themselves by sharia, they should do so. If it turns out that it doesn't work that well for them, they can change their mind.

Will the process be smooth and uneventful? No.

Might it be necessary for other nations, including us, to make perfectly clear what their own level of tolerance for bad behavior is? Yes.

Who knows. Maybe they'll surprise us all and, after a generation or two and a few false starts, evolve a form of Muslim governance that will put us to shame. It could happen.

In any case, it's *not our business*.

We don't know what will work in Pakistan. The Pakistanis have to figure it out.

Line by line rebuttal of hysterical warnings of the danger of Scandinavian Lutherans = lutefisking.

Line by line explication of how quickly even the most glorious moments turn to dust = carltonfisking

Thanks -

Thanks for clarifying my point, russell. You wrote out the point I was making. I Sweden, probably one of the most peaceful and democratic countries in the world, has only 350 years ago been a fanatic fundamentalist autocracy, then anything is possible.

Typos in the article just under the chart: "NML-N is Nawaz Sharif's; NML-Q and MQM support Musharraf" should read "PML-N is Nawaz Sharif's; PML-Q and MQM support Musharraf". This confused me for a bit.

You and the administration you detest are on the same page, Hil: you both want Musharraf to hold free and fair elections. And so do I.

DN: yikes, sorry. Will change asap. Thanks.

It's important to realize that "shari'a" doesn't simply mean a replacement codex of Islamic laws that are harsher than secular ones. It has a broader meaning, which could explain the results of the survey: something like the obligations of the Muslim before God, broadly described. For all of Pakistan to follow the Sharia does not necessarily mean that the government will play the active and final role in its enforcement.

In that sense it means something like the laws of the rabbinical tradition if you were to ask it in Israel. Most religious people would say that they should have an increased role in society; this does not mean that they should be rigidly enforced.

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