Strengthening Pakistan’s weak civilian institutions, updating political parties rooted in feudal loyalties and recasting a military fixated on yesterday’s enemy, and stuck in the traditions of conventional warfare, are generational challenges. But Pakistan may not have the luxury of the long term to meet them.Folks, a collapse of the Pakistani government is pretty much worst-case scenario. Pakistan has nuclear weapons. India will not stand by and allow the Pakistani nukes to come under extremist control. They will move with decisive military action. Should that happen, the US will have to act quickly to prevent a nuclear exchange, and doing so will almost certainly destabilize the rest of the Middle East, not to mention draw China and Russia into the fray.
Some analysts here and in Washington are already putting forward apocalyptic timetables for the country. “We are running out of time to help Pakistan change its present course toward increasing economic and political instability, and even ultimate failure,” said a recent report by a task force of the Atlantic Council that was led by former Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. The report, released in February, gave the Pakistani government 6 to 12 months before things went from bad to dangerous.
A specialist in guerrilla warfare, David Kilcullen, who advised Gen. David H. Petraeus when General Petraeus was the American commander in Iraq, offered a more dire assessment. Pakistan could be facing internal collapse within six months, he said.
General Petraeus, in Congressional testimony last week, called the insurgency one that could “take down” the country, which is home to Qaeda militants and has nuclear arms.Even before the insurgency has been fully engaged, however, many Pakistanis have concluded that reaching an accommodation with the militants is preferable to fighting them. Some, including mid-ranking soldiers, choose to see the militants not as the enemy, but as fellow Muslims who are deserving of greater sympathy than are the American aims.
From there, we get a Tom Clancy novel where the bad guys have a very good chance of winning. Millions of lives could be at stake in a very grim scenario.
Pray Obama's up to it. After all, sending repeated drone attacks into Pakistan isn't helping stabilize the government too much.