make no mistake about it - no matter what the outcome of the recent assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan is perfectly poised to become the new response point of a new level of militancy and terrorism in the world. Expect to see more spectacular acts of terror, ranging without doubt from more car bombings at crucial Western markets and transportation points, to 9/11-level catastrophes by 2011. If for no other reason, it will be the 10th anniversary of 9/11/2001.
Map of Pakistan and adjoining nations...
I hope you're listening. Al-Qaeda has already established a strong, relatively-permanent (and most likely very mobile), base of operations in Waziristan, the western, mountainous, and well-defended and populous provinces of Pakistan. Uncontrollable by the Musharraf government, they are strong enough to establish & maintain leadership in an area quickly, and perhaps mobile enough (thanks to the 'spreading of the faith' thru the Internet, video feeds to news media, and speeches like the tape coming out soon from Bin-Laden) that make it able to re-establish leadership when needed where its support is strong, as they appear to have done in Waziristan. They also almost did it in Sudan, and they definitely did it with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Perhaps the Wazirs, cousins of the Afghans, can dig where their brothers are coming from. Perhaps they feel the same way when Bin Laden speaks to them, to the heart.
So how do you combat the heart? This is the core issue that has to be either defeated or embraced into a peaceful co-existence. That co-existence is likely impossible, so we have to either change our ways to accommodate their fears or fight and defend ourselves. Sadly, this one doesn't have much of a choice but to fight.
Our world is far from perfect. But at least for the most part no one is telling me what to do. In fact, unless it breaks some rule that I agreed to abide, or involves the unspeakable, I'm probably free to do what I want. That is NOT what Islam offers me, I suspect. While I respect Islam highly, I am not a religious person. That means not Christian, either. I'm happy I can live somewhere where I am relatively free to be who I want to be, not what someone else wants.
The threat of Pakistan is a strong military force and nuclear weapons. More than enough firepower, under the wrong hands, to strike out decisively against Israel, or India, or Iraq. I doubt they'll mess with Iran, but if used to start a regional chain reaction of wars, especially one that bring in the United States, I'm not so sure they wouldn't.
We must realize NOW that we are in true danger from other world powers! Not as a demagogy, but as a fundamental sea change in how the rest of the world sees itself, not how they see us. In fact, they are dismissive more and more of our Western Anglo view of the world. Whether you like it or not the influence and power of the non-U.S. world is steadily increaing, and our ability to be the preeminent world power is steadily weakening. Expect Al-Qaeda to be on the move from now until the end of the decade, with stunning results. Oh, and by the way, he cees u: