"Friend" status is clearly not a permanent thing, however. Witness US treatment of Putin.
I'm certainly not a fan of Musharraf, and the more Muslim democracies the better in my view, but this seems profoundly wrong:
Democratic congressman Gary Ackerman of New York, chairman of the House subcommittee that deals with Pakistan, has been critical of the Bush administration's exclusive reliance on Musharraf. "The truth is, for our goals to be achieved in Pakistan there should be more than one phone number there to dial," he complained at last Wednesday's hearing on the political crisis.What, I wonder, does that even mean? That the United States should foster competing centers of political authority -- or military force -- in an allied country? How would Americans react, I wonder, if China decided that because the US Congress was so uncooperative, they would only deal with the government of California?
Even in a democratic state, there are norms and proper ways to deal with international issues. In any future state, the Prime Minister of Pakistan (or whoever is the Chief Executive) is going to be the only appropriate guy for the United States to talk to. Talking about having multiple partners to deal with sounds ominous to me.