Run, Al, Run
Gore for President of Pakistan?
By OMAR AZFAR: Counterpunch, Nov 22, 2007
If you're sure Al Gore is not running for the US election, think again. He's trading at a 3.2% chance of winning the US elections. In case you are not very impressed by these odds, they are better than those you can get for Senator Edwards and every other Democrat except Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama and that's without even declaring he's running! Even more remarkably he's trading at 4.0% for winning the Democratic primary, so the market predicts that if he was to win the Democratic primary, he would win the Presidential election with an 80% implied probability. Hilary Clinton by contrast who has a 72% chance of winning the nomination, has only a 50% chance of winning the election and so only a 70% chance of winning if nominated. So, if you're an influential Democrat, please, pretty please, get Gore to run. The US constitution will be salvaged, the global climate rescued, the American involvement in the war in Iraq ended. But sadly the word on the street is that he's not interested.
But there's another important job awaiting Gore. According to CNN on November 19^th 2007, it appears that US special forces are now going to be on the ground in Pakistan, so why not give Pakistan Al Gore as well? As a Pakistani citizen living in the US it behooves me to list why it will be better for both Pakistan and the US. I would even go further and argue its better for all humankind, and most plants and animals, earth, wind, fire and water.
Let's start with the pesky legalities. The Pakistani Supreme Court has already allowed Musharraf to run on the seemingly overbroad principle that no one objected - so why not now allow Al Gore to run? Pakistanis have ways of making sure no one objects. There already exist precedents for ex-grandees to run states in crisis: Lord Owen and Prime Minister Arthassari of Finland both ran Bosnia. While not exactly setting a precedent, it will draw attention. And to the extent that it does, it will accelerate the opening up of the international market for chief executives of nation states, which could be a very good thing (President Bill Clinton of Russia, Tony Blair of Italy .) But I'm getting ahead of myself and actually listing the benefits for the world. So let us begin with Pakistan and America.
For Pakistan Al Gore will be a far more credible provider of moderate enlightenment than the current leading incumbent, General Pervez Musharraf. Al Gore has just written a book on "The Assault on Reason" defending the core value of the enlightenment. And Al Gore has consistently defended civil liberties in America which grew out of the Enlightenment. At the same time, Al Gore is clearly no friend of Islamic extremism. Second, Al Gore would be far better at fixing the economy. The economy needs a credible judiciary and Gore could more easily restore the dismissed judges and restore confidence in the judiciary. And Al Gore has access to the best economic advice: imagine having Larry Summers run the Pakistan economy? (In case you think we couldn't get him, think again: Larry Summers is power hungry, interested and experienced in development [he was Chief Economist of the World Bank] and kinda underemployed nowdays merely teaching macroeconomics to undergrads). Third, other than moderately enlightening Pakistan, and fixing the economy, the most important issues facing Pakistan are probably environmental: the receding water tables in Baluchistan; deforestation in the North, and the related flooding in the Indus, water logging and salinity in Sind; the poaching and trading of endangered animals. Al Gore is far more likely to deal with these really important environmental issues confronting Pakistan. In international forums, an American-backed Gore would carry more weight and could act more forcefully in Pakistani interests. Just contemplate this: he may even be able to negotiate a free trade agreement with the US.
For Americans the most important issue is preventing terrorists from getting hold of Pakistan's Nukes. Now, there's no serious danger of terrorists actually getting a hold of Pakistan's nukes. But Americans think they might, and that's an issue. Al Gore will be better at assuring Americans that the nukes are safe. He will fight terrorism as Pakistan's president more effectively than Musharraf has (really, he hasn't been that good remember, he's been trading suicide bombers with Mullah Omar). In international forums like G77 Al Gore will work for American and global interests (but more on this below). As a member of the Organization of Islamic States, Gore could act in American interests and talk through the issues with reasonable debate that would otherwise lead to clashing civilizations.
Now for the World: plant, animal, or human. The trend set for the internationalization of world leaders would improve global governance. Imagine Tony Blair as the prime minister of Italy and Bill Clinton for Russia. As a member of an important G77 country, Al Gore will be able to influence important countries like Brazil and China to open their markets and do other things in the interest of all mankind. And he could convince the G77 to limit emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and stop trading in endangered plants and animals. This would be good for all humankind, and most plants and animals, including Pakistan's political elite.
Would Al Gore accept the job? It seems he's decided to sort of retire and concentrate on his books and power point road shows. But we'll convince him that unlike the US Presidency, this job is really a part time job. You appoint the prime minister, fire him if he's is stroppy and just attend opening ceremonies and other galas. The last guy did this while holding down a demanding job as head of the Pakistan army. Hey this overachiever might be out of a job soon! So there you have it, a circle so perfect that you could die for it: Should Musharraf run for President of the US?