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Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani President Musharraf After 9/11
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani President Musharraf After 9/11 1 Shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, the rhetoric of the United States government made clear that the world was about to experience the first major political division since the end of the Cold War in the 1980s. The new political discourse, mainly built upon binary oppositions, was primarily defined through the speeches of President George W. Bush. He defined the War on Terror as a fight of freedom against oppression, a fight of the civilized against the barbarians, and a fight of the democratic against the undemocratic. In January 2002, in his State of the Union address, Bush declared that three countries – Iraq, Iran and North Korea – form an “axis of evil.” In a later explanation of this statement, during his visit to Japan in February 2002, Bush said that the United States of America “… cannot allow nations that aren't transparent, nations that have a terrible history, nations that are so dictatorial they are willing to starve their people… to be made up with terrorist organizations” (CNN.com, February 18, 2002.) This clear rhetorical division of “democratic” versus “non-democratic” and “dictatorial” regimes does not always follow the politically pragmatic division of enemies versus allies. In this sense, one country’s role has been particularly intriguing in the developing events—Pakistan. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Pakistan obtained a crucial role in the South Asian region both because of its convenient geo-strategic position and its long history of an unstable alliance with the United States. Pakistani leader, President Pervez Musharraf, is a military dictator who discontinued his support of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan after the September attacks, which made him an instant ally of American foreign policy. During Musharraf’s visit to the United States in February 2002, President George W. Bush admired the Pakistani President’s “courage and vision” and described

Authors: Obad, Orlanda.
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Framing a Friendly Dictator: U.S. Newsmagazine Coverage of Pakistani
President Musharraf After 9/11
1
Shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on
September 11, the rhetoric of the United States government made clear that the world
was about to experience the first major political division since the end of the Cold War in
the 1980s. The new political discourse, mainly built upon binary oppositions, was
primarily defined through the speeches of President George W. Bush. He defined the
War on Terror as a fight of freedom against oppression, a fight of the civilized against the
barbarians, and a fight of the democratic against the undemocratic.
In January 2002, in his State of the Union address, Bush declared that three
countries – Iraq, Iran and North Korea – form an “axis of evil.” In a later explanation of
this statement, during his visit to Japan in February 2002, Bush said that the United
States of America “… cannot allow nations that aren't transparent, nations that have a
terrible history, nations that are so dictatorial they are willing to starve their people… to
be made up with terrorist organizations” (CNN.com, February 18, 2002.)
This clear rhetorical division of “democratic” versus “non-democratic” and
“dictatorial” regimes does not always follow the politically pragmatic division of
enemies versus allies. In this sense, one country’s role has been particularly intriguing in
the developing events—Pakistan.
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Pakistan obtained a crucial role in
the South Asian region both because of its convenient geo-strategic position and its long
history of an unstable alliance with the United States. Pakistani leader, President Pervez
Musharraf, is a military dictator who discontinued his support of the Taliban regime in
Afghanistan after the September attacks, which made him an instant ally of American
foreign policy. During Musharraf’s visit to the United States in February 2002, President
George W. Bush admired the Pakistani President’s “courage and vision” and described


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