Pakistan Now Lost

By: Leigh Patrick Sullivan

The assassination of Pakistani political leader Benazir Bhutto, which is just the latest in a series of global terror attacks, can be called many things – shocking, horrible, a loss for democracy, a strike for the Islamofascists – but it cannot be called a surprise.

Ever since the first whisper that the exiled former Prime Minister was considering a return to her native Pakistan, questions of her safety were raised. Many believed it was not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’ an attempt on Bhutto’s life would happen. It turns out we didn’t have to wait long. The media is swirling, digging hard in order to label an enemy – was it al Qaeda? Maybe it was the Taliban? Perhaps current Pakistan leader Pervez Musharraf, who reluctantly gave up military power and was locked in an election race with Bhutto, knows something about this?

It is all but certain that radical pro-Islamic murderers were behind this latest show of cowardice. While Bhutto was always dogged by allegations which targeted her integrity, the loss of this leader means a loss in the fight against the terrorists. We have gone from holding a shaky allegiance with Musharraf since the American ultimatum just after 9/11 to having lost all confidence and trust in the current Pakistan government and its leader. In spite of the necessary White House spin, those in the corridors of power stopped listing Pakistan in the ‘ally’ column years ago.

They have gone from the status similar to the Soviet Union during World War Two – the enemy of my enemy is my friend – to disintegrating into what could possibly become the next Afghanistan. (Convenient, when you consider that Pakistani-based Taliban and al Qaeda groups have been striking NATO forces in Afghanistan for years.)

The U.S. and its allies in the War on Terror must learn to accept the fluid nature of the current struggle. Today’s allies – even those who are friends of convenience – could be tomorrow’s enemies. Waiting too long before taking strong and decisive action could result in heavy costs. Pakistan is quickly spiraling down into chaos, with the Islamic radicals stirring the pot and waiting to jump into the vacuum of power. We should treat Pakistan as if it is already lost.

Afghanistan is on its way – slowly but surely – towards a stable democracy. The pattern has been set for similar successes in neighboring nations. But we can’t continue to underestimate the war or our enemy.

If recent events in Pakistan tell us anything, it is that NATO must redouble its efforts against terrorism. The Middle East is the epicenter, and the enemy has just won the latest battle.

About The Author Leigh Patrick Sullivan:
The Moderate Separatist

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