Political Science students probe Musharraf’s opinions in special class sessionOctober 26, 2010
by Dan Anderson, Staff
Former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf talked about the qualities of leadership, the conflict in the Middle East and many other topics during an intense one-hour class session with International Relations students on Oct. 13.
He said leaders must also know when to go against public opinion, and said the United States faces that situation now in South Asia, amid rising calls for withdrawal of American armed forces. Musharraf says the public is wrong on that issue, and said that U.S. citizens need to be convinced that our nation’s withdrawal from the region could be a major blunder.
“What could happen if we were to leave an unstable Afghanistan – militarily, politically unstable?” Musharraf asked.
In comments on Muslim nations and others in the developing world, Musharraf called for a long-term view as those societies transform from rural and agrarian to modern and progressive. He said there is a culture clash in many nations as rural villagers move to cities.
“These rural people are less educated, they are not exposed to the world and they are much more backward than the urban minority,” Musharraf said. “The West needs to understand this … don’t be impatient, societies don’t change in ten years, they change in a hundred years.”
Some students in the class were surprised by Musharraf’s confidence and his willingness to treat them as equals and answer their questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.
“I was really interested in how he was discussing the sense of turmoil that would be left if the U.S. pulls out troops in 2011,” said first-year student Annie Clabby. “We would just be leaving another mess for them to clean up.”
Source: Elon University