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Thursday, May 23, 2002

Pak-Man Maneuver?-Some very good and very heavyweight thought on the Indo-Pak war to come over at Vodka Pundit. A Who's Who of Blogistan's best and brightest are chiming in the comment section on that post. Mr. Green's worried about the "decisive fight" that PM Vajpayee is promising. Vajpayee wants to settle the Kashmir problem once and for all. As I understand the primary nightmare scenario that has been laid out in the Blogosphere, this is what we're worried about [update-Den Beste layed this out well yesterday]
(1) India has Pakistan outgunned in conventional arms and makes short work of the Pakistani army if they do go to war (2) Rather than accept defeat, the Pakistanis then use their nukes to try to slow down the Indian advance. (3) India then parking-lots Pakistan with their larger nuke capacity. (4) The world then has to deal with the war's fallout, both figuratively and literally.
It's possible that India could wind up using their nukes in a first-strike mode, but I think that would be unlikely. The West then needs to head off an all-out Indian invasion that would prompt a nuclear response from Pakistan. Pakistan itself could make some strides by clamping down on its Kashmiri gunnies if it can. There's the rub. How much control does Musharraf have over his military and over the ISI? I'm much less positive than I was Tuesday night. We could be in a spiraling scenario where Pakistan can't or won't contain the Islamic gunnies in Kashmir, thus forcing an Indian invasion which forces a Pakistani nuclear response. This is where Musharraf has to be backed into a corner. If he wants to be the Ataturk of South Asia, he'll need to sit on the al Qaeda remnant in Kashmir and their sympathizers in the Pakistani government. This may result in a near-civil war in Pakistan, but Musharraf needs to be shown that that is better than the all-out, likely nuclear war with India that is the alternative. We do live in interesting times. [Update 1:40- Doug Turnbull turned his formidable talents to this topic the same time I did-check it out.]

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