In a memorable but often forgotten moment in the 2000 Presidential campaign , Andy Hiller, a smartass political reporter for locally based WHDH-TV in Boston on November 5th 1999 asked Texan Governor George Bush to name the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan.
Stumbling George got out the name of Lee as the Taiwanese leader ( it was then Lee Teng-hui) He could not name the others.
George needed a breather. "Wait, wait, is this 50 questions?"
"No, it's four questions of four leaders in four hot spots, " Hiller tried to put his victim at ease.
"The new Pakistani general, he's just been elected - not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country and I think that's good news for the sub-continent," Dubya gamely - and correctly added.
His tantalising interlocutor insisted: "Can you name him?"
"General. I can't name the general. General" was all George had to offer. "Can you name the general who is in charge of Pakistan?" Hiller persisted , inquiring about Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who had seized control of the country a year earlier.
Karen Hughes , Bush's campaign spokeswoman brushed off criicism of the governor's performance. "The person who is running for president is seeking to be the leader of the free world, not a Jeopardy contestant,"
Surely it is a paradox that this cocky, nuke packing, ex (?) general who strutted round Washington this summer telling George he needed him, more than he needed George, is going to have more effect on the 2008 Presidential race.
Lord Patel says that there are surprises in store for the US electorate as events are played out in Pakistan over the coming weeks and months.
Having carefullly parachuted in their carpetbagging Bhutto and seen he liquidated, the US Foreign Policy options get narrower and narrower every day.
See here, here and here.
Part II tomorrow
BREAKING NEWS : CNN now predicting with 87% votes in, Obama 37% and Huckabee 34% come through - Fred 15% is behind Romney 25% and Hill and Edwards are even steven at 30% each.