I would argue that the odds of a military coup at any point are reasonably high...
Or perhaps guaranteed? If it weren't for periodic military coups, there wouldn't BE a transition of power in Pakistan.
I think we need to discard the policy of spreading democracy all over the planet. It works well for stable, educated, non-fanatical societies, but can lead to anarchy in third-world, illiterate backwaters like Pakistan.
And these fuckers have nukes. I'd rather see a strong, despotic dictator maintain control over those weapons, than have a weak-willed, 'democratically-elected' government over there.
TOR Replies: I think the next exchange of power in Pakistan may well be a military coup. Another distinct possibility is a head of government who is unwilling to question the Army or its policies in any substantive way lest there be a military coup. The person at the top changes but they are unwilling to upset their apple cart and thus they are of somewhat marginal importance. I am not particularly worried about their nukes. I think the odds of General Ishmahalanzi being in charge tomorrow are far higher than the odds of the country really falling apart. Worst realistic case (for us) would be both they and the Taliban decide the costs of this current war they are fighting is too high and go back to a de facto peace.
You stumble onto something which I think has been an issue for America over the last (at least) couple decades. American official policy has pretty much been that we support democracy and want everyone to have one. Americas real policy is that we want everyone to have a democracy but one which likes America and if isn't willing to do everything we ask will at least "play ball". As we have seen in Iraq we also have the little astrix that they need to support womens rights, minority rights, gay rights, and freedom of religion. Of course there is a glaring omission that we also support some downright nasty dictators if they can do something for us and can vaguely stay somewhat within our broad international agenda and the fifth letter in their name is the equivalent of an L.
This policy was pretty easy to have in the Cold War era, particularly the earlier part. It was easier first of all because a lot less countries in the world were democracies. Second of all the momentum of the Cold War sort of made things easier because we could justify dealing with some nastier characters to keep them on "our side" and also because well most of them pretty much had to choose a side.
These days a lot more countries and places are democratic (at least I believe) and the removal of the old Cold War pulls has made it easier to be democratic and not fit into our agenda. The elections of Hugo Chavez in Venesuala and Hamas in Palestine have really shown that our official stance doesn't mesh with what we actually do.
To a certain degree the idea (if we ever really had it) that all countries who become democracies will be easy to get along with is at best naive and at worst just plain stupid. Democracies more or less tend to reflect the will of the people voting and in a lot of countries the people voting don't like us very much.
To take a black and white approach we would need to decide if we are going to support countries that are democracies or countries that like us (and "play ball"). That being said I don't think black and white approaches work in real world politics.
In general I think we should do both of these things but in an order that suits our needs. It is often necessary to deal with certain unsavory characters to get things done in the world. To the ends that it suits us we can and should continue to act in our best interest. I believe we should try and help people in other countries have a voice in how their country is run if just through encouraging them in a variety of ways (preferential agreements, aid, etc [all of these things in general are another discussion but they exist and we currently use them widely]) unless they act consistently in some way that is against our interest. If they are aiding us or are neutral towards us then fine and good, if not they can go pound sand no matter their form of government.
As for the question of whether every country is capable of being a democracy? While nothing is written in stone regions that become democracies successfully and stay that way tend to have a tradition of rule of law, market economies and loyal opposition. Not every man is going to marry a woman who looks like a super model and not every woman looks like a super model. Sorry to say that not every country is at least at this time capable of having a viable democracy. Not today, maybe tomorrow.
I am over my time limit so I have to wrap this up.