The Pressures on Pakistan

Courtesy Reuters


The survival of Pakistan in its existing form is a vital U.S. security interest, one that trumps all other American interests in the country. A collapse of Pakistan -- into internal anarchy or an Islamist revolution -- would cripple the global campaign against Islamist terrorism. Strengthening the Pakistani state and cementing its cooperation with the West have thus become immensely important to Washington.

So far, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf appears firmly committed to the U.S.-led coalition, and he seems to have the solid support of his military high command. In the short term, the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan will strengthen Musharraf's domestic position. Most of the causes of Pakistan's decline over the last few decades, however, remain in place and have not been changed by the war against terrorism. If these serious flaws in Pakistan's governance remain unaddressed, the country

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