Thursday, August 11, 2005

Pakistan Raises the Bar

Pakistan has successfully tested their first nuclear-capable cruise missile, joining an elite corps of nations with that capability. (Pravda: Pakistan fires first radar-invisible cruise missile).

While that news is disturbing enough, it is compounded by the lack of notification provided to India, despite reaching an agreement to do so just a few days ago. The Pakistanis claim that the missile is not classified as a ballistic missile and therefore required no notification. Ballistic missile or not, Pakistan now has demonstrated the ability to stike India with nuclear warheads.

Today's test, while hailed in Pakistan as providing a military balance with India, does nothing to stabilize the tensions between those two nations. India and Pakistan have already fought three wars. Nothing we've seen in recent months can lead us to believe there won't be a fourth.

Pakistan is yet another US ally of dubious value. While Musharraf is supportive of our efforts in Afghanistan, the general population is far more sympathetic with our enemies. US efforts to increase economic and political ties with India are doing nothing to improve our standing with the Pakistani populace. Musharraf, thanks in part to his open support of the US, has already been the target of at least one assassination attempt.

There is no political stability in Pakistan, and that nation already plays host to insurgent training camps - the very same insurgents making their way to Iraq. Allowing them to develop a nuclear capability was a huge mistake. Of all the foreign relation problems we're currently facing, (Iran, Venezuala, North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, for starters) Pakistan is potentially the most dangerous. Continuing to think of Pakistan as an ally is foolhearty at best. What will happen once Musharraf is out of power is anyone's guess.


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