I tried to share the riddle of her death with those too young to recall that in her second term as PM William Jefferson Clinton was in the Oval Office. Hillary and Chelsea Clinton toured the Middle East and Asia and included Bhutto in their rounds of Islamic discovery. How would their political partnership be seen by the world? How would it look if these two powerful women could click their heels together? What would come of such a meeting first as friends and later as close political allies? Herein lay the reason behind this renewed season of political assassination.
Has the “war on terror” made Middle Eastern countries, especially espoused allies, safer from attacks? Observers, pundits and democratic candidates believe that the war in Iraq, in particular and the war on terror in general have been a mistake. And what’s worse — has not made the world safer. In addition, I planned to write an article about 'what ifs. I was going to write it in fast-forward fashion about 2009. Here are the scenarios I considered: Political projections aside, I too believed that Bhutto would have won the upcoming January 8th election, to hold a third term as PM. Hillary Clinton, at the same time, projected to be the top or bottom of the Democratic ticket would have been a clear choice to help mend wounds in the lesion of foreign policy. Historically, Bhutto was a friend to America as well as to the Clintons. With Bhutto's death there will be no meeting of parliamentary heads in a fictive Paris summit in 2009 now. There will be no soupcon of salvation for Israel through political conversations, conventions or accords that these two women on the world stage wearing high heels might have wrought. Death changes everything.
These were not the only questions that came to mind. Benazir was a woman who represented the hope of democracy in a Muslim nation. Who can keep democracy alive now in countries like Pakistan? We knew Bhutto was for us. And we knew that America should be much more skeptical of military men in macho display from Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and others like him.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attempted to engineer a marriage of these two factions by trying to orchestrate Bhutto's return to Pakistan under a power-sharing agreement that Musharraf has just blown to pieces.
Musharraf obviously did not share the same democratic vision of Bhutto and the United States.The other natural question was who, excluding Musharraf; could best lead the anti-terrorism charge from U.S. shores? Enter Barack Obama. Juxtaposed with the hope of a woman at the helm; who could present a kinder, gentler America to those hardened against American Muslim fever, there is the hope that Barack Obama presents. Not only is he a man who will take leadership in bringing people together at a common table. He is a man, I believe, whom foreign governments would welcome simply because he looks like them and understands them.