Holbrooke for Democracy

The government in Pakistan has been facing widespread criticism lately about its handling of the country’s flood crisis. Meanwhile, the military, often seen as the strongest force in Pakistan and not averse to overthrowing civilian leaders, is looking better and better thanks to its disaster-relief efforts. Now Washington has decided to voice its opinion. U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke said yesterday, “We support a civilian, democratically elected government of Pakistan and I say it again -- we support a civilian, democratically elected government of Pakistan.” True, Washington works closely with the military in Pakistan to fight insurgents, Holbrooke stressed, but that military is only part of the larger administration of the country.

Back at home, Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with his Russian counterpart yesterday to talk about a few tense issues, like missile defense, Iran and Georgia. Gates said that he believes this is just the beginning of what “will develop into more frequent communications between the two of us and our staffs.” This is the first time a Russian defense minister has made an official visit to the Pentagon in over five years.

And Hillary Clinton has called the peace talks “constructive,” which is “reassuring.”