Pakistani FlagMatthew Kaminski

Pakistan is becoming more like Afghanistan, only with a more advanced economy and nuclear weapons, writes Kaminski. The idea that Islamabad’s leaders can control the Taliban is probably a necessary fiction, but the reality is that many extremists have slipped their leash. Pakistan’s military has yet to show that it wants to–or that it can–control the Islamist wave. Gen. David Petraeus, the American commander in Afghanistan, certainly has contingency plans for Pakistan that go beyond extra doses of drones or diplomacy. Putting American boots in Waziristan is an obvious idea. But, Kaminski concludes, this is unappealing, as the fallout in Pakistan would be hard to predict. So for the moment America gets to pretend that Pakistan can do this on its own.

Kaminski is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

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