Why might rule by the Taliban, or their Pakistani allies, and the imposition of Shari”a in the Valley of Swat, ever be seen as “acceptable” by the Western powers? Because the Americans are now at their wits’ end, and don’t know how to stop it. They are finally beginning, with their amazingly slow learning curve, to understand that Pakistan is a deeply Muslim country, and that the real Pakistan, the Pakistan that counts, is not represented by elegant and smiling anglophones, such as the meretricious Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador, who previously managed to head the International Relations Department at B.U. and even to smuggle in a fellow Pakistani onto the faculty, someone who famously has served as a comical apologist for Islam at mosque outreach nights, or those Ispahani girls, or the late Benazir Bhutto. They’re all the same, really. They”re all the same in that they don’t want to admit that Islam is the root of the problems that currently beset Pakistan.
With their Western educations, the members of the Pakistani elite do what they can to pretend that they, and not the vast primitive masses of Pakistan, are the “real Pakistan.” In this respect, they are like all those ramrod-straight terry-thomas-moustachioed Pakistani generals who for decades fooled their American counterparts, carefully explaining that Islam was “a bulwark against Communism” and that they, therefore, were so much more deserving of American aid, especially military aid, than India. India, after all, was dominated by its New Left Book Club leader Jawaharlal Nehru and his marxisant, bandung-conferencing foreign minister, who even allowed the Soviets in to build steel mills and suchlike, Krishna Menon. And the Americans fell for it, and have been falling for that Pakistani line, or some variant on it, ever since — right up until the day before yesterday.
Not even A. Q. Khan’s little science project, paid for in large part by the American taxpayers (for the aid to Pakistan provided the extra cushion that allowed the nuclear program to go forward) managed to disabuse the Americans. And Dr. A. Q. Khan as well remains safely off-limits to American questioners. Don’t want too many questions about the money and other support given to A. Q. by the I.S.I. Nor would it do to have the Americans find out how even its favorite Pakistani generals were in up to their necks in the whole business of the acquiring, and then the distributing to such countries as North Korea and Iran, nuclear know-how — know-how that was stolen, in the first place, from the Dutch (or was it German?) labs where “Dr.” A. Q. Khan, national hero of Pakistan, worked. And now here they are, not knowing what oh what oh what to do, because they cannot quite come to grips with Islam, and with the recognition that whatever smiling zamindars and generals tell them, the problem is this: the people of Pakistan will follow the “extremists,” for the “extremists” have all of Islam — Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira — on their side. And the “moderates” have nothing, except the embarrassment of wishing to ignore many of the texts, and thus the teachings, of Islam. That isn’t enough.
It will never be enough, unless a strongman, in the manner of Ataturk, comes along to tie up Islam, in systematic knots, for as long as he is able. No Ataturk has appeared in Pakistan, and in the “Land of the Pure” no Ataturk is likely. So the American effort must be to prevent Pakistan, or rather Muslims in Pakistan, from transferring, or having the means to deliver against Infidels, their nuclear weapons. Ideally, those weapons should somehow be seized (or handed over, in return for not destroying Pakistan’s economy), or destroyed.
We have to find a way to disarm Pakistan. Make them an offer. A total end to all aid. A closing down of Western markets — besides, can’t the Chinese eventually undercut Pakistan in everything it produces (except possibly jute), despite Pakistan’s comparative advantage, as Ricardo would say, in rug-weaving with its child indentured servants and virtual slaves? Pakistan needs Infidels. Infidels have no need of Pakistan — but we need to get those weapons, to undo the damage of Pakistan’s greatest hero, its truest face, its most representative “scientist” — Dr. A. Q. Khan.