November 10, 2007

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Joe Biden says the U.S. should consider Pat Leahy's proposal that "U.S. aid to the Musharraf government should stop until constitutional order, civil liberties and judicial independence are restored, until political prisoners are released, and until free and fair elections are allowed." That's probably not a bad idea, especially seeing as how we're just finding out that "the great bulk of the more than $10 billion we've given to Pakistan since 9/11 has been in the form of unsupervised and unaudited cash transfers" with which Musharraf has been free to do whatever he wants. He then sums up what we're facing in Pakistan right now about as well as anyone:

Blitzer: How worried are you Senator about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal: the security of those nuclear bombs?

Biden: I'm very concerned about it, not immediately but over the next year to two years. Look Wolf, Pakistan is bigger than Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea combined. There's 156 million people. They have 24 to 55 nuclear weapons. They have not only the bomb, the thermonuclear device, they have the missile that can couple with the bomb and it can fly all the way to the Mediterranean.

I mean, here we're fixating on Iran and here you have a country that in fact if you don't get some accommodation for the vast middle of that country, I worry that over time you wind up with a situation like you had with the Shah of Iran 30 years ago. The moderates got so frustrated, they joined with the extremists. What happened? The Shah got overthrown, then the moderates got crushed by the extremists. This is not an easy thing. This requires a policy, an overall policy including an Afghan policy which affects what's going on in Pakistan.

That's why many now consider Pakistan to be "The Most Dangerous Nation in the World."

Emptywheel asks if you feel safer yet when the White House refuses to discuss the Pakistani nuclear program publicly.

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