Imagine the colossal moral and political bankruptcy of the contemporary political system in this country if the people of Pakistan started wishing that Pervez Musharraf had not gone and the army should be back in power. In a similar vein, I was asked during a recent group discussion what was termed a hypothetical question: What would you do if Pakistan breaks up and is merged with India? The point raised here is that the metaphorical and hypothetical context in the idea of Pakistan merging with India reflects growing public dissatisfaction with the increasing unpredictability of the foreign and economic policies of the six-month-old PPP regime. It is so because of the fundamental failure of the current leadership to give an appropriate direction to the nation's political future. People can tolerate only so much unpredictability in political leadership and in a political system. They can appreciate a passion for democracy and pay homage to a personal sacrifice - and even admire personal attributes of a leader. But the fact is that as soon as the people's political sentiments are ignored, they tend to become nervous and justifiably start losing faith in the political system and its leadership. They look at the disregard of their political sentiment as a kind of betrayal of their legitimate and rightful demands by the leadership - because the public believes that the personal interests of the political ruling elite have taken precedent over national interests. Soon they start wondering if it all can hang together. And who can blame the masses? This has been the virtual history of this country's political leadership and its "modus operandi." For example, we, the Pakistani nation, have heard that the world is a safer place today because of Mr Bush. Let us do a reality check, inside and outside of the US, vis--vis the above statement attributed to the Pakistani President. Pascal Boniface, a world acclaimed scholar and a distinguished newspaper columnist, has this to say about George W Bush and his War On Terror: "President Bush's war against terrorism is a failure. In fact, we must admit that terrorism has never been so widespread...one must wonder if no US president has ever harmed his country so much...He will probably be remembered as the worst president in all of American history. At every level, the credibility of the US is undermined... Bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US has lost all credibility..." Linda Heard, another globally-renowned columnist has a straight-forward view on the so-called War On Terror: "Let us be realistic. The Taliban do not present a physical threat to the US, Britain or the European mainland." Dr Joseph A Kechichian, author of several books on international affairs, offered the following advice to one of the American presidential contenders for the November 4 elections: "He should have apologised to the loved ones of the million or so Iraqis killed because of an illegal war...invading on the basis of a pack of lies...Both [candidates] must reassess American influence, to avoid lies (WMDs), immorality (Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo), political quagmires (ethnic cleansing), and economic ruin." Adel Safty, a noted academic, notes that "Washington's strategic involvement in the region is largely driven by the desire to gain access to the oil and gas-rich Caspian region." The British ambassador in Afghanistan has spoken of "the failing of the present Afghan government" and the British commander gave an interview in which he described the war as "unwinnable" and spoke of "the need to talk to the Taliban." Raoof Hassan, an Islamabad-based Pakistani columnist has perceptively put the War On Terror in an apt observation: "It seems so as there is no one talking about the one credible way of finding a solution to the terrorist phenomenon: an immediate and complete withdrawal of the American troops from all countries it has forcibly occupied." It is ironic and surprising that whereas the entire world is united to condemn Bush's loathsome global War On Terror and a dangerous volatile world that his eight-year presidency has created, the Asif Zardari has glorified George W Bush as a Man of Peace. Nasim Zahra, a Pakistani columnist, commenting on President Zardari's opinion (that "the world is a safer place" because of President Bush and that the "axis of evil is growing") wrote that it is "like talk from outer space." My own impression is that the said statement of the president indicates, in the first place, a lack of a repertoire of analytical contexts and understanding of the historical patterns of US global policies. Secondly, this misplaced flattery seems to have been used to compensate for the president's lack of experience and finesse - and an overall absence of personal appreciation of the core beliefs of democratic leadership demanded of a head of state in a country like Pakistan. It is because cultural imperatives do not permit such outrageous toadying and sycophancy that tend to violate the people's sense of national pride. Thirdly, this flattery can be seen as an expression of gratitude to President Bush for his personal help in PPP's return to power and Zardari's eventual ascendancy to the Pakistani presidency. Lastly, this sweet-talk is a window to the President's sense of egoism implicit in his personality. The fact is that this boiling and bottomless reservoir of certitude is not suited to the president of this country, where strong differences exist between the state-policy and public opinion. Indeed, how much more loss of national dignity and national self-respect can be demonstrated? This is how the Pakistani public has reacted to the said statement. Moreover, the Pakistani ambassador's briefing to the president on the history of American foreign policy has been incomplete. At the very least, Haqqani should have pointed out to President Asif Ali Zardari what Linda Heard pointed out to the Georgian president: "...he will be forced to conclude, like so many other world leaders before him, that America has no friends, only interests." Husain Haqqani should have also implicitly informed the Pakistani president that the US has militarily intervened all over the world at least 102 times during the last 100 years - not included in these imperialistic adventures is the US government's involvement in at least 50 assassination plots on foreign leaders up to 1985. And the long-winded Information Minister seemed to have failed to inform the president about the appropriateness of communicative importance when the head of state makes a diplomatic gesture or statement. The fact of the matter is that this War On Terror is not our war. The government has planned a foreign policy to continue the so-called War On Terror on the US behest - to extract American dollars for its ill-planned and ill-fated economic policies. Concurrently, the PPP leadership has devised a strategy to pacify the nation: the emotional arithmetic approach is to keep the nation on a roller coaster of endless rhetoric and propaganda: "this war is our war." The entire PPP leadership will be well advised to carefully pay attention to what Ayaz Amir has written recently: "Talibanism is not the disease. It is a reaction to or a consequence of our decision to blindly side with America..." "The aggression by the USA," wrote General Aslam Beg recently, "has caused the death of more than five million innocent Muslims in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq alone...there emerged the Islamic Resistance, opposing such aggression and in doing so it has drawn the new contours of global power equation." Bizarre flattery of the US establishment will not bring peace to Pakistan - it will only humiliate the nation. The PPP leadership needs to remove the element of schizophrenia from its foreign policy. It needs to deal with the real world in a realistic manner. If the PPP leadership is committed to achieving "peace" in its tenure, then it will have to develop steadfastness, commitment to the public's sentiments and determined national resolve to deal with America within the context of "new contours of global power equation." That is where the hope for stability, security and peace rests. You are dead-wrong Mr President glorifying George W Bush as a Man of Peace. The Pakistani nation is waiting for you to correct yourself Will you do it....soon? The writer is a professor, political analyst and conflict-resolution specialist. E-mail: hl_mehdi@hotmail.com