Nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorist organizations.
This was the chief concern that jetted us into war with Iraq, as well as the concern that has blossomed bitter hatred between the United States and Iran. Because of this desperate stumble for a sense of security, we have murdered the leader of the former and refuse to speak with that of the latter.
It seems we should have kept a better eye on our friends.
Musharraf, in the wake of an increasing amount of control of Pakistan gained by Taliban and Al-Qaeda cells, has completely halted any hint of democracy in his nation.
Though this action remains an aberration of political process and deplorable at best, it represents only a symptom of the ever-more haunting issue at hand.
Pakistan has witnessed an unprecedented surge of militant Islamists within its borders in the wake of Musharraf’s plummet in popularity. This surge has created two problems: the exponential increase of recruits for Al-Qaeda and Taliban organizations and the annexation of entire regions, even major cities, in Pakistan by terrorist cells.
Abdul Majadd, a recently injured Taliban commander, was quoted in Newsweek saying, “Until I return to fight, I will feel safe and relaxed here.”
Knowing that Pakistan is a relatively close ally of the United States — with $150 million in aide being transported monthly to the country — major terrorist organizations know that they are safe from both foreign invasion and foreign bombing.
Even more soothing for said organizations is the immunity felt from Pakistani forces.
Reluctant to fire on their own citizens and in some cases even sympathetic towards the cause, Pakistan is caught with its hands tied, unwilling to fire indiscriminately and unable to distinguish terrorist from civilian, police forces are rendered ineffective, even useless, in quelling the surge of terrorism in the nation.
So the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have finally found solace in the region — a place to rest, collect intelligence, coordinate attacks and recruit born-again Islamists.
Though an inconvenience both for regional governments and the United States, it wouldn’t seem potentially disastrous if it weren’t for one solemn fact.
Pakistan is a nuclear power.
Because of fear of India, Pakistan, after decades of research and development, tested six nuclear warheads between 1997 and 1998. Because they remain allied with the United States, we turned the other cheek and allowed the notoriously unstable nation to keep the weapons, now numbering between 30 and 55.
Musharraf’s loss of control in his country, made apparent by his recent and apparent elimination of anything democratic from his governmental structure, coupled with the rise in power and development of a home base by major terrorist cells, spells disaster for the United States.
“A Kansas City Shuffle,” to quote Bruce Willis, “is when everyone looks right, and you go left.”
Al Qaeda had us looking directly at Iraq and Iran, though neither had a hint of nuclear arms, and it would take, according to analysts, at least a decade for Iran to develop said weapons, while the terrorist cells moved right into Pakistan, found solace under an impenetrable political umbrella and began working on toppling the terribly unstable government so as to gain control of their nuclear weapons.
So far, they’ve succeeded admirably.
Phil Elder is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.