The tragic murder of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistani moderate and champion of democracy, is yet another reminder of the instability in so many parts of our challenged world. It is not clear to me how other countries will react if Pakistan falls into chaos. Bhutto’s assassination, and the ongoing attacks on General Musharaff, bring that possibility closer as Pakistan’s hopes for a quality democracy drift again into the shadows.
Strategically wise or not, I do not think the US, and perhaps even India, would tolerate nuclear weapons in the hands of some of the Pakistani fundamentalist groups. India and Pakistan have been very antagonistic towards each other since Pakistan’s fiery birth soon after Indian independence from Britain. Disputes over the Kashmir region, claimed by both countries, flare up regularly.
Instability favors the extremists and those who support them. The irony of extremist actions is that they rarely bring the changes desired by the extremists – rather they waste lives and resources, waste blood and treasure that could have been used to help those in need, and consolidate power in the hands of non-extremist but still questionable groups.