Friday, January 09, 2009

Obama's worst Pakistan nightmare

In an earlier post on Pakistan, I wrote, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."
After reading this NY Times piece, I want to revise that to "Be very, very afraid. Better yet, run for your life!"
Here are the final paragraphs from the NY Times piece:
WHAT OBAMA NOW inherits in Pakistan is a fully dysfunctional relationship between that country and the United States. Last summer, Bush signed secret orders allowing American special forces to run ground raids into Pakistani territory to root out not only Al Qaeda but also a list of other militants who could be targeted by either the C.I.A. or American military commandos. The first such raid, in September, provoked such a firefight and outrage in Pakistan that most other raids were suspended. But the reasons for the Pakistani government’s anger went beyond the concern that Bush was publicly violating Pakistani sovereignty. If American special forces were now authorized to come into the country to snatch or kill a range of militants, several Pakistani officials said to me, would it be very long before they tried to get the country’s nuclear weapons as well?
Though few in Washington will admit it, it is the right question. At the end of Bush’s term, his aides handed over to Obama’s transition team a lengthy review of policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, concluding that in the end, the United States has far more at stake in preventing Pakistan’s collapse than it does in stabilizing Afghanistan or Iraq.
“Only one of those countries has a hundred nuclear weapons,” a primary author of the report said to me. For Al Qaeda and the other Islamists, he went on to say, “this is the home game.” He paused, before offering up the next thought: For anyone trying to keep a nuclear weapon from going off in the United States, it’s our home game, too.

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