- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 2, 2002

Schroeder told to quit

A top Pentagon adviser is calling for German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to resign because he so badly damaged relations with the United States during the German election campaign when he disparaged President Bush's policy on Iraq.

"Never in my life have I seen relations with a close ally damaged so fast and so deeply as during Chancellor Schroeder's election campaign," Richard Perle said in an interview appearing in today's edition of Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper.

Mr. Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, added, "It would be best if he resigned, but he's not going to do that."

He also said Mr. Schroeder appeared to be forgetting the role of the United States in the reconstruction of Germany after World War II.

"The chancellor threw all that out the window," Mr. Perle said in remarks released yesterday ahead of publication.

During the campaign, Mr. Schroeder dismissed as an "adventure" Mr. Bush's desire to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. He declared repeatedly that Germany will have no part of any military campaign against the Iraqi dictator.

The relations fell further during the campaign when Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin compared Mr. Bush to Hitler. She was dropped from the Cabinet by Mr. Schroeder.

Mr. Perle, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy during the Reagan administration, created a political storm in Washington when he invited a French military analyst to address the advisory panel in July.

Laurent Murawiec, now with the Rand Corp., told the panel that Saudi Arabia is "active at every level of the terrorist chain." The Bush administration quickly defended the Saudis as allies in the war on terrorism.

A game for elites

A retired Pakistani general is determined to create fundamental institutions to establish a stable democratic government for his country, long plagued by coups and corruption.

"Nobody had a stake in government," Lt. Gen. Tanwir Naqvi told Embassy Row on a recent Washington visit. "When a government came down, no one shed a tear. They saw democracy as a game played between elites."

As director of the National Reconstruction Bureau, Gen. Naqvi knows he is facing a test with parliamentary elections scheduled for Oct. 10 and the world watching to see if the military government of President Pervez Musharraf conducts a free and fair vote.

"We must have no reversion to the bad practices of the past. Democracy must return so the military will not come back," he said.

The United States repeatedly has called for the restoration of democracy in Pakistan, a key South Asian ally in the war on terrorism.

Gen. Musharraf, who toppled a corrupt but elected government in 1999, established the bureau to reform the electoral system from top to bottom. The State Department is watching the process and has approved of the reforms made so far.

Gen. Naqvi said he understands that the government will be judged by its actions.

"It's a question of stating what we want to and presenting a track record," he said.

Gen. Naqvi has lowered the voting age to 18 from 21, required candidates to have a college education and increased the role of women in politics. He also imposed a fundamental reform for political parties.

Now for parties to qualify for the ballot, they must prove they have elected their party leaders, he said. Before that reform, many parties were little more than fiefdoms for political warlords.

"We have more than 80 political parties, but only a half-dozen are serious ones. Many were only patronage-based political organizations," he said.

Gen. Naqvi appreciates the irony of a military government trying to establish a civilian democracy.

"The military never really wanted to rule the roost, but bad government failed the people," he said.

Gen. Naqvi also insisted that "democracy and Islam can coexist." He said the Koran is silent on the system of government adopted in Muslim countries.

"The election process is only the beginning of democracy, not an end in itself," he said. "We must create a government of democratic behavior, not of bribes and graft. We must eliminate the politics of lust and plunder.

"The people are interested in equality, fair play and justice."

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