If Republicans end up with a divided convention between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, I say we pick Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf has declared emergency rule in Pakistan, shut down the media and sent Supreme Court justices home. What’s not to like about a guy who orders policemen to beat up lawyers? I bet he has a good plan on illegal immigration, too.

The entire history of Pakistan is this: There are lots of crazy people living there, they have nuclear weapons, and any leader who prevents the crazies from getting the nukes is George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison all rolled into one.

We didn’t hear much about Musharraf — save for B. Hussein Obama’s threat to bomb Pakistan without informing Musharraf — until the last few weeks.

Musharraf has been a crucial ally of ours since Sept. 12, 2001. His loyal friendship to the United States while governing a country that is loyal to al-Qaida proved dispiriting to the terrorists. So, until recently, the media mostly confined stories about Musharraf to page A-18.

Now, with the surge in Iraq working, Democrats are completely demoralized. Al-Qaida was counting on them. (We know the surge in Iraq is working because Iraq is no longer front-page news.)

In a tape released in on September 7, Osama bin Laden bitterly complained, “You elected the Democratic Party for this purpose” — of ending the war in Iraq –- “but the Democrats haven’t made a move worth mentioning.”

It isn’t enough for the media to drop all mentions of the surge or to subsidize ads denouncing Gen. David Petraeus as “General Betray Us.” (He is betraying liberals — by winning the war for America.) They need to stir up trouble for the U.S. someplace else in the world.

On Sept. 20, Osama bin Laden cued liberals by issuing another tape demanding Musharraf’s ouster. The Democrats and the media quickly followed suit.

Weeks later, The New York Times editorial page called on “masses of Pakistanis” to participate in “peaceful demonstrations” against Musharraf. (The New York Times editorial page is apparently the most effective way to communicate with the Pakistani masses). Most of the editorial was a mash note to that troublesome woman, Benazir Bhutto, for demanding democracy in the land of the deranged.

Media darling Bhutto returned to Pakistan after fleeing the country following her conviction for corruption as prime minister. Her conviction was later overturned by the corrupt Pakistani Supreme Court, leaving one to ponder, which is worse: being convicted of corruption in a Pakistani court or being exonerated of corruption in a Pakistani court? She was again convicted in a Swiss court of money laundering.

The media adore Bhutto because she went to Harvard and Oxford, which I consider two more strikes against her. A degree from Harvard is prima facie evidence that she’s on the side of the terrorists. I note that Bhutto demonstrates her own deep commitment to democracy by giving herself the title “chairperson for life” of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Liberals hysterically opposed our imposing a democracy on Iraq and despise Nouri al-Maliki, the democratically-elected leader of that country. Say, has Maliki ever been convicted in a Swiss court of money laundering?

Compared to Pakistan, imposing democracy in Iraq is like imposing democracy in Darien, Conn. But in Iraq, liberals prefer an anti-American dictator, like Saddam Hussein. Only in Pakistan do liberals yearn for democracy.

You wouldn’t know it to read the headlines, but Musharraf has not staged a military coup to hold power. In fact, he was re-elected in a landslide just weeks ago under Pakistan’s own parliamentary system.

But the Pakistani Supreme Court, like our own Supreme Court, believes it is above the president and refused to acknowledge Musharraf’s election on the grounds that he is disqualified because he is still wearing a military uniform. That’s when Musharraf sent them home.

Musharraf’s election was certainly more legitimate than that of Syrian president Bashar Assad (with whom every leading Democrat has had a photo-op) or Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (adjunct professor at Columbia University) or Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez (Hollywood darling).

Where were the headlines about those lovable rogues? (This week’s Economist: “Time’s up, Mr. Musharraf”) Those leaders hate America, so they can stay.

The last time liberals were this enthusiastic about popular rule in some Third World country was in 1979, when they were gushing about Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran. Professor Richard Falk of Princeton University assured liberals in a 1979 New York Times op-ed that the “depiction of Khomeini as fanatical, reactionary, and the bearer of crude prejudices seems certainly and happily false.”

Falk cheerfully concluded that the fanatical Muslim leaders in Iran “may yet provide us with a desperately needed model of humane government for a Third World country.”

And just look at all the wonderful things Khomeini did for Iran! I’m no clock-watcher, but it’s been 28 years; I don’t think Falk is going to be issuing an apology.

How might popular rule turn out in Pakistan? As Saul Bellow said of multiculturalism, “Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus?”

Among the Islamists’ bill of particulars against Musharraf is the fact that he has promoted the Women’s Protection Bill, which would punish rape, rather than using rape as a device for social control. (Pakistan is a country where local Islamic courts order women to be raped as punishment for the crimes of their male relatives.)

As recently admitted by The Boston Globe, the most common form of homosexuality in Pakistan –- punishable by death –- is pederasty. Yes, this is a country crying out for self-government!

Pakistan doesn’t need Adlai Stevenson right now. It needs Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to impose military rule and drag a country of Islamic savages into the 19th century, as Ataturk did in Turkey. Pakistan’s Ataturk is Gen. Musharraf. (Or perhaps its Tolstoy!)

To try to force democracy on the differing “I hate America” factions in Pakistan at this stage would be worse than Jimmy Carter’s abandonment of the Shah in 1979. It would result in what former assistant secretary of state Edward Djerejian called: “one man, one vote, one time.”

The difference is: Instead of scimitars, this den of al-Qaida-supporting pederasts will have nukes.

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