Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pakistan on the Verge

Nuclear-armed Pakistan looks to be opting for an internal war rather than a fight with India:

Pakistan: Choosing Civil Strife Over War With India
from Stratfor
Pakistan is relaying messages to India and the United States that it is prepared to take action against elements involved in the Mumbai attacks to stave off a potential war with India. Regardless of whether it means what it says, it is highly unlikely that Pakistan can engage in such unprecedented action without creating major problems on its home front...

This article shows why such a move may wind up crashing the Pakistani State:

Lashkar-e-Taiba
by Steve Coll for the New Yorker "Think Tank"
...One question that will certainly arise as the Mumbai investigations proceed is what the United States should insist the government of Pakistan do about Jamat and Lashkar. Even for a relative hawk on the subject of Pakistan’s support for Islamist militias, it’s a difficult question—comparable to the difficult question of managing Hezbollah’s place in the fragile Lebanese political system. To some extent, Pakistan’s policy of banning Lashkar and tolerating Jamat has helpfully reinforced Lashkar’s tendency toward nonviolent social work and proseltyzing. In the long run, this work is a threat to the secular character of Pakistan, but it is certainly preferable to revolutionary violence and upheaval right now. On the other hand, there is little doubt that the Army and I.S.I. continue to use Jamat’s legitimate front as a vehicle for prosecution of a long-running “double game” with the United States, in which Pakistan pledges fealty to American counterterrorism goals while at the same time facilitating guerrilla violence against India, particularly over the strategic territory of Kashmir, which Pakistan regards as vital to its national interests...

Why Do We Care?

Why care about problems between India and Pakistan?

  • The real threat of a nuclear exchange between the countries. I don't worry about this for the same reason as most. Most say it would be horrible, that it would kill millions, that such a war would spread fallout all across Asia. All true. What scares the piss out of me, though is that once the handwringing is over, various countries will look at it the results and see that the world didn't end. A lot of people died, it was a big mess, but the weapons were used and the sun rose the next day. The taboo on using them will have been broken and some lessons may be learned that we don't want - such as they can be used and used successfully for certain types of warfare. Especially if the use of nukes prevents Pakistan from being overrun...
  • Even without a nuclear exchange, the potential to disrupt trade, to drag in China (which is a Pakistani ally and is nervous about losing access to African and Middle Eastern oil) and to totally disrupt capital flows throughout the world.
  • America will suffer from a war there. Our efforts in Afghanistan will go down the toilet as the supply routes up through Pakistan are cut. Our influence in the region will be minimal and the obvious impotence of our power in this region will make us look even weaker in the eyes of the world.

Keep an eye out and your powder dry, friends.

1 comment:

neal said...

The global meltdown is taking a heavy toll on Pakistan’s economy as it faces bankruptcy. The consequences of such gross irresponsibility will be ruinous, especially for Pakistan, which is on the verge of an economic collapse, and whose problems . The credibility between the two countries is on the verge of failure.

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