Pakistan presents a near intractable problem as the country's weak government refuses to stand up to the Islamist snake in its midst. Indeed, now the U.S. government is turning to one of the snakes, Nawaz Sharif, in order to try and stabilize the Pakistani government.
Political Islam was birthed by General Zia in 1970's and given ever more life by succeeding Pakistani governments, who saw in the Islamist movement a force to be deployed against India and, in Afghanistan, against Russia, and also to create a political power base inside Pakistan. One of the key individuals in the growth of this movement was Pakistan's former President Nawaz Sharif (pictured above) - himself heavilly supported by the Wahhaists and their petro dollars out of Saudi Arabia. He oversaw the vast expansion of Saudi madrassas in Pakistan as well as the development of Pakistan's nuclear program. Just prior to his ouster in a coup by General Perez Musharraf, Sharif was, as I recall, attempting to force through a change to Pakistan's Constitution to impose Sharia law throughout the country. The man is a very dangerous radical with ties to the very Islamists that now threaten Pakistan's existence.
Thus its breathtaking to hear the Obama administration talk about turning to Sharif in order to try to solve the existential threat to Pakistan by the Islamists. The NYT reports this as a positive development.
I do not see how anything good can come out of it. If we have learned nothing over the past decade it's that there is only one possible answer to the Islamist threat. It comes at the end of a gun. It comes from doing a deal with India that will allow Pakistan to withdraw its troops off the Indian border and send them into the NWFP. At best, playing to Sharif will accomplish nothing but putting such actions off while the Islamists grow ever stronger. Sharif has no motivation to weaken the Islamists - they are his power base.
I marvel at just how insipid the Obama government - and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton - really are.