The Problem with Pakistan

Crossposted at Dean’s World

If you haven’t already read Ali’s post on PajamasMedia, do so. Ali believes that the United States should give up on Musharraf and call for an objective international panel on Bhutto’s murder.

If the U.S. can create the conditions for such a public demonstration of the history and extent of jihadist killing and infiltration, it would arm the people of Pakistan with unerring proof about who is their real enemy. It would be a boost to their sense of survival. It would demonstrate that the US is looking out for them. They would be able to take these feelings to the polls.

Or would it simply result in Nawaz Sharif taking power and allowing the militants in Pakistan to gain more power, and perhaps even nuclear weapons?

Ali’s positions seems naive to me. If we cut off support of Musharraf and support an independent inquiry, the Pakistanis will have a change of heart about the United States and realize we’re on their side.

What is the likelihood of that happening? As Ali notes, Sharif has never had security problems because he is on the same side of the extremists. If Musharraf leaves and creates a power vacuum, isn’t Sharif – and the jihadists who support him – the one most likely to fill it?

Pakistan has always been a complicating factor in American foreign policy. It has made relations with India tougher, and since 2001 has constrained our fight in Afghanistan. Should Pakistan switch sides and cut off coalition overflights, we would have no way to supply forces in Afghanistan.

Benazir Bhutto was one of a kind. I don’t see anyone able to replace her. I’m sure that today the Joint Chiefs, the Pentagon and even the maivens of State are brainstorming what to do now that America’s policy towards Pakistan is buried in a mausoleum in Ghari Khuda Bakhsh.

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