Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pakistan's Collapse - the Peace Making Challange

Update moved to top: More from Richard this AM. His closing paragraph,
There may have been a major miscalculation, whose consequences are now creating grave concern in Washington. The Times Online used the “nuclear” word in its lede and added: “The US considers rooting out militant sanctuaries in Pakistan critical to success in the Afghan war. Washington is also worried about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.”

From handshakes to worries about nukes. From “peace in our time” to the Battle of Britain. Once the overall design margin of a system has been eroded, failure when it comes manifests itself in a rapid cascade of events. The hidden stresses suddenly pile on each other and the structure, raddled with hundreds of weaknesses each minor in itself, collapses under their simultaneous impact. Today the United States is under threat on a number of fronts, from the Black Sea to cyberspace and South Asia. Since November 2008 America’s response to those challenges has been informed by a new set of assumptions about the nature of the world and the appropriate response to them. Now those assumptions will be put to the test. More than ever the United States needs good intelligence: about Pakistani intentions, the security of that country’s nukes, Taliban capability and foreign support against US troops. More than ever the public needs to know whether the world view of the new administration is part of the solution or part of the problem. Like the Islamabad, Washington will eventually find out.
Read him all. Especially the links from Bill Roggio.

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A challange I've heard little discussion of. Mahir Ali writing in The Dawn on the $5b aid package,
Arguably, the best possible use for the bulk of the forthcoming $5bn would be to spend it on education, whose inadequacy is in all probability the largest single reason why the sowers of ignorance find such fertile soil — and the dominant feudal mentality again helps to explain why the idea of enlightening the masses has never quite caught on. Chances are the money will be put to more mundane uses, such as upgrading weaponry or servicing the international debt. A certain proportion may also end up in someone or the other’s pocket. Richard Holbrooke says the handout should have been multiplied by 10; Zardari, who at one point was keen on soliciting $100bn, would wholeheartedly agree.

Meanwhile, the inadequately explained bail for Maulana Abdul Aziz and his return to the scene of the crime, so to speak, is more or less guaranteed to enhance the sense of beleaguerment that has become second nature to the majority of Islamabad’s residents, accustomed as they are to sporadic blasts and massive security barriers.

‘The government,’ according to a report in The Guardian at the weekend, ‘is urging foreign embassies to move into a diplomatic enclave that may soon resemble Baghdad’s green zone.’ Almost everyone acknowledges, however, that adequate precautions against suicide bombers are hardly feasible. The vulnerabilities of Lahore and Karachi — to say nothing of Quetta and Peshawar — have already been demonstrated, while the likes of Baitullah Mehsud are free to hold press conferences, evidently with little fear of interception.

If the centre cannot hold, things will inevitably fall apart. Every now and then the odd flicker of hope can be glimpsed, but chances of redemption are fading fast. Once India concludes its drawn-out electoral process, it might be well-advised to make contingency arrangements for a wave of refugees driven by Islamist anarchy.
If the centre cannot hold... it's not optimistic. Via Richard Frenandez

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