Thursday, February 05, 2004

Re: The Pakistani Patsy

If ever there were a country with which the US had a messed up relationship, Pakistan is it. It's a militant Islamic country with nukes and a Western-friendly dictator. The State Department has to walk a very fine line with Musharraf. On the one hand they need to pressure him to help them get Osama, to crack down on Taliban and Al Qaeda militants, and to try to control militant activities in Kashmir. On the other hand, the more he cooperates with us, the less popular he gets. There have already been two assassination attempts on him in the last couple months. Musharraf is desperately trying to hang on to control of his country, and the US is desperately trying to hang on to its control of Musharraf. Being as it's a dictatorship, nobody knows who would succeed him if/when Musharraf gets killed. The nightmare scenario for the US is that an anti-Western Islamic faction takes control of the government (think Iran, 1979) and the nuclear arsenal. My interpretation of Boucher's comments is: "We'd like to beat them bloody for this... but we're really not in a position to be aggressive with these guys."

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