What in the world is going on in Pakistan? Who knows. Musharraf has been our man, and we have been lucky to have him. His days are numbered. The imposition of martial law has left Musharraf isolated. Was it necessary? Who knows. What happens when he is gone? Who knows.
Elections in Pakistan have been set for early next year. Maybe we have good intelligence. Maybe our government is working behind the scenes. Maybe it is none of our business. Pakistan is a sovereign country with the right to self determination.
The next leader of Pakistan is likely to be decidedly less supportive of American interests. What will that mean for the hunt for Islamic extremists? It is difficult to imagine a leader of Pakistan being even more helpful to our efforts than Pervez Musharraf.
Musharraf now intends to step down as leader of the military to position himself as a citizen president. He took power by means of a coup, has imposed martial law to hold power, and seems to hope the voters will see the wisdom in those actions as well as his cooperation with the United States.
Benazir Bhutto, although somewhat pro-western, will likely feel uneasy about bowing to America. I can’t see Bhutto risking public support to pursue American interests.
The more important point is that America doesn’t seem nearly as formidable as we did prior to invading Afghanistan. Musharraf certainly believed the, “you are either with us or against us” bit.
Of course we have been humbled, nearly to the point of crying uncle, by our our media and politicians. We certainly are more forgiving of those not completely on our side. Our actions have not supported our rhetoric.
This gives all other countries wiggle room. I fear this wiggle room and our perceived diminished power will further erode support for our efforts.
In the end we are in this alone. We will either overcome islamic extremism, or it will take over the world. Nobody wants to fight…except the extremists. The fanatics believe nothing but imposing their will matters. They will not stop, but must be stopped.
So what does all this mean. Watch Pakistan. What happens there has a huge impact on the war on terror. If Musharraf looses power our struggle becomes harder. Either way, civil war is a real possibility in Pakistan.
Civil war in Pakistan would be scary. What would that mean for longtime rival India? What about the nukes? What about Osama bin Laden? What about the ISI?
Hopefully The CIA is all over it. Hopefully we have contingency plans for any scenario. If the past is any indicator, trouble lies ahead. We don’t often see intelligence successes. Lets just hope we don’t have to see another intelligence failure.