David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines
hradzka

oh, look, cheery news

If you haven't seen the news recently, Pakistan is in serious shit.

No, I mean *more* serious shit. The Pakistani government did the dumb thing and handed over part of the country to the sharia-law junkies a while back, and now these guys, Taliban and their ilk, are looking to take over the country. Recently, it looked like they had a chance to move toward the capital, but they pulled back. I can tell you exactly why they did it: they want to be sure they have things set up with their supporters in the military and ISI (Pakistan's equivalent of the CIA). By which they mean, they want to be sure they'll get control of Pakistan's nukes.

I've always figured that there are two ways the vital fight against Islamism could play out. One is a process that involves the reformation and democratization of the Muslim world. President Bush thought we could start that process; I hoped to God he was right, because the other way things could go would involve a whole lot of people being dead. Well, we may not be doing the killing, but it's looking more and more to me like a hell of a lot of people are going to die. Not at our hand. Our government reportedly has a plan to seize Pakistan's nukes if the government there falls; but given the vast number of Islamist fanatics and sympathizers in Pakistan's government, I really don't think that'll be successful. They might not be able to swing stealing a nuke outright, but holding 'em back, confusing the issue so we don't recover the bombs? Cake and pie. So if Pakistan falls, their nukes are up for grabs.

Here's where I differ from a lot of the folks who believe the above: if Pakistan goes sha'ria, I don't think the first Islamist nuke would be smuggled out to a terrorist group to hit us, or to hit Israel. I think they'd hit India.

The ISI has a long history of killing people in India. The train bombings? That was Pakistan. The Mumbai attacks? That was Pakistan. And India hasn't responded, in part because their politicians are spineless and in part because they know that if they go to honest-to-gods-no-kiddin'-war, the same Pakistani factions that have no compunctions about using terrorist tactics against Indian civilians will cheerfully go nuclear. Pakistan has enough nukes to cripple India, and there are Pakistanis in positions of great power who are *itching* to use 'em. I read, years ago, an article about Pakistan's dreamers of great war, and one of the most horrifying details was a retired general who literally had a painting of Pakistani nukes being launched toward India *over his fireplace.*

Here's the thing: Pakistan has enough nukes to cripple India. But India has enough nukes to *obliterate* Pakistan.

Which means that in India, there are people who go to bed knowing that they might wake up to an unthinkable number of dead, and might have to order an unthinkable response.

I think that there are remarkably good chances that by the time President Obama leaves office, the planet will have seen its first nuclear war.
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