Via Atrios, a great post at Booman Tribune about something that I have been worried about for years: Pakistan. The post quotes a former top adviser to General Petraeus, as follows:
"Pakistan is 173 million people, 100 nuclear weapons, an army bigger than the U.S. Army, and al-Qaeda headquarters sitting right there in the two-thirds of the country that the government doesn't control. The Pakistani military and police and intelligence service don't follow the civilian government; they are essentially a rogue state within a state. We're now reaching the point where within one to six months we could see the collapse of the Pakistani state, also because of the global financial crisis, which just exacerbates all these problems. . . . The collapse of Pakistan, al-Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons, an extremist takeover -- that would dwarf everything we've seen in the war on terror today."
Here we go, with more of the consequences, not of incompetence, but criminal dereliction on the part of the Bush administration. While ignoring the task, which they voluntarily assumed by invading Afghanistan, of bringing stability to that country, and wasting our nation's military attacking Iraq, they decided that Pakistan, the biggest confluence of corruption and malignant Islamic radicalism in the world, was our buddy in the laughingly titled "War of Terror." Couple that with their ludicrous insistence that Saudi Arabia, the source of three quarters of the 9-11 terrorists, and the home of the murderous Wahabi cult, whose ideology has lain behind most Sunni radicalism since the 1880's, and you have something that must have long ago convinced any reasonable person that the Bush administration never had a real intention of stopping terrorism.
Have we not learned by now, in South and Central America, in Vietnam, in Africa, and now throughout the Mideast, that, every time our government enters into a marriage of convenience with dictators, the negative results overwhelm whatever pathetic temporary benefit we gain? Now, we face the ultimate nightmare- a State with nuclear weapons, driven by an apocalyptic ideology, and highly likely to use those weapons. This was, in effect, created by Bush and Cheney, by refusing to face the fact that Pakistan harbored as many enemies of the West as Afghanistan.
Above is a map of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the surrounding countries, showing on it my rough guess, based on what I have been reading, of what may well emerge in this area in the near future. I cannot claim any great accuracy in my prediction of the exact boundaries of this country, but I think it shows a fair approximation of the area that would fall under Al-Quaeda/Taliban/Pakistani military control. We've seen the behavior of these groups in the past- vicious, religiously justified internal oppression coupled with erratic, belligerent attacks, also justified with an appeal to religion, outside the country.
The World's Most Dangerous Country- Bought and paid for by the Bush Administration. Wait- did I just say that? Sorry- I meant bought by you, and paid for by your children.