28 December 2007

We're in a bad spot...

...and it's getting worse by the minute, methinks.

With the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan on Thursday, I'm not sure whether this event will go down in history like the death of Kennedy...or the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914.

An already precarious situation has just gone critical - with all parties in Pakistan already furious with Pervez Musharraf's conduct this year - and conditions are ripe for the populace to make a serious stab at removing Musharraf from office.

The big question, of course, is who will come out on top after such a coup (or all-out civil war) - and who will control Pakistan's scores of nuclear weapons?

John Yaukey of Gannett News Service published an analysis today that covered the bases pretty accurately, and I quote below:

Bhutto's assassination also could crush hopes for democratic reform in Pakistan and could badly damage relations between Washington and Islamabad -- especially if anti-Western forces prevail in the chaotic aftermath, experts said.

Indeed, the followers of Bhutto have been - for the most part - peaceful, civilized and working for democracy in a nation that is known more for coups and corruption than any semblance of democratic rule. It even makes America's current leaders look downright good.

There's going to be more violence in Pakistan, and that will come very soon (I'm checking reports as I write this). The nuclear issue is definitely the most troubling. I've mentioned on this blog here, here and here that a nuclear-armed Pakistan in the hands of Taliban-style mullahs is a scenario that should make anyone shake in their boots, and I fear it will happen sooner than later.

Pakistan also has an estimated 50-100 nuclear weapons that could fall into radical hands if the government and army lose control of the country. But analysts say the military has firm control of the weapons, at least for now, and retains close ties with the United States.

Let's hope that cooler heads in Pakistan's military are able to safeguard the knowledge needed to use such weapons, prevent terrorists/extremists from accessing the sensitive materials that could be used to make a "dirty bomb" or other such device, and can somehow prevent such forces from initiating a wider or nuclear war, which would involve - at the very least - India, Iran, Afghanistan and the U.S.

But there's one more BIG issue that no one in Washington has dared mention: The United States Armed Forces are not large enough - and are too bogged down in Iraq - to adequately provide any security in Pakistan should things get bloody very fast.

The War on Terror has just taken a turn for the worse. A BIG turn for the worse.

And because of America's connection to these events, the ongoing war in Iraq and the uncertainty of what the victors in the Pakistan fight will do, America finds itself in a very precarious situation.

And under the "leadership" of George W. Bush, America finds itself completely impotent.

America's bullied itself into a corner.