Religious fanatics with nukes

Motto of the Pakistani army: “Faith, Piety, Jihad in the path of Allah.”
I can’t think of any foreign policy objective – including defeating the Taliban – more important than helping Pakistan become a genuinely civilian-ruled country and prying the security forces away from their alliance with the jihadists.

According to the FT, the motto of the Pakistani army is “Imaan, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah”: “Faith, Piety, Holy War in the path of Allah.”

Remember, these guys have nuclear weapons.

The story (behind a paywall) goes on to say that,Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani the new military commander, with the support of (or at the direction of; it’s hard to tell) President Zardari, is trying to crack down on some of the jihadist groups the army has been sponsoring. The story also claims that the U.S. has been reluctant to push the Pakistani security forces too hard on this because of the need for Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan.

If that’s true, it’s lunacy. Afghanistan is important; Pakistan is vital. The present moment may represent an opportunity to neuter the ISI and the jihadist parts of the military, put the civilians in charge of the country, and broker a deal with India on trade (with the US contributing on the textiles side) and Kashmir. A civilian-ruled Pakistan with no need to worry about war with India would eventually get around to doing the right thing with respect to Afghanistan, but even a failed state in Afghanistan would be worth it to solve the India-Pakistan mess and ensure that those nukes don’t get used.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: