Pakistan Update

PAKISTAN UPDATE….Spencer Ackerman says that U.S. intelligence is increasingly convinced that Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf is doomed. So what should we do about this?

The hope — among Pakistani military officers and politicians, to say nothing of U.S. diplomats — is that the increasingly inept and unpopular Musharraf can be eased out of power while the U.S. slowly distances itself from him, allowing for as smooth a transition as is possible in the turbulent South Asian country.

Well, that would be a first. But I suppose the Bush administration is due for a success, aren’t they? And this would hardly be the first transition in Pakistan’s history that the U.S. has weathered.

Spencer also says something that I’ve seen increasingly from other analysts as well: that fears of an Islamist takeover if Musharraf departs are overblown:

Not many see the Islamists as able to take control. “One common factor in places where Islamists rise to power is the economy tanking,” observes [Rob] Richer. “But in Pakistan investment is taking off. It doesn’t have many of the factors that drive religious elements taking power.”

That’s heartening. I just hope it’s true.