It’s possible, of course, that when Alaska Governor Sarah Palin meets Hamid Karzai, the president of of Afghanistan, and Asif Ali Zardari, the president of Pakistan this week, she will fix everything that’s wrong in those two countries.
But in the real world, the one that humans actually live in, the situation could hardly be worse in either place — and it’s headed south.
Pakistani nearly unraveled completely over the weekend, when a bomb destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, and narrowly missed killing both Zardari, the president, and Yousaf Raza Gillani, the prime minister, the two principal leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Zardari and Gillani were supposed to have been at the hotel the night it was bombed. Why, exactly, they changed their plans is unclear, but there does appear to have been advance intelligence about the coming attack, which killed at least 60 people, including the Czech ambassador. According to one report, the government “had received intelligence information of an attack in the capital two days earlier.”
Rehman Malik, a Pakistani official, noted that the whole country’s leadership was supposed to be at the hotel:
“An Iftar Dinner was scheduled at Marriot on September which was hosted by National Assembly Speaker Dr Fahmida Mirza and where all dignitaries including the prime minister, president, cabinet and all services chiefs were invited. However, at the eleventh hour the dinner was shifted to rime minster’s house which saved Pakistan’s entired military and political leadership.”
A new report from CSIS, written by veteran, conservative military analyst Tony Cordesman, is called “Losing The Afghan-Pakistan War? The Rising Threat.” Cordesman is the latest to suggest that the US and NATO are losing the fight in Afghanistan, and that the situation in Pakistan could unravel quickly, too. Look for signs of panic in Washington. Despite the fact that cross-border raids into Pakistan won’t work, despite the fact that such actions could destabilize the fragile Pakistani regime beyond repair, despite the fact that Pakistan (at least publicly) has strongly opposed any US actions in troubled northwest border areas, that seems to be US policy at present.