Of particular interest, Mark writes:
[Pakistan’s Prime Minister] Zardari is looking less and less like a player these days as the Taliban extends its control in parts of the country. Taliban fighters are unlikely to storm Islamabad. But their (many) sympathizers and supporters within the Pakistani military and its intelligence wing, the ISI, are likely to get ideas about toppling the civilian government with a coup so long as the Taliban keeps growing stronger.
I’ve been banging on this drum recently, and here’s an opportunity to do so again. The Obama “Af/Pak” plan has been pitched to Americans as a more realistic and sensible alternative to the Bush adminstrations seeming lack of any-kind-of-plan and unrealistic Jeffersonian democracy fantasies–“attainable objectives” is the Richard Holbrooke phrase. But, what we’re about to embark upon is really a third pseudo-nation-building effort in Pakistan. We not only need to save Hamid Karzai in Kabul, we need to save Zardari’s government in Islamabad too. Support our liberal friends, while spending billions on what we hope will be a fundamental makeover of the ISI and the Pakistani military so they start to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban for us. Now, I’m no expert on Pakistan, but I wonder what the chances for sucess at remaking the Pakistani military and ISI are… It strains the limits of my common sense test. (To put it another way: How much success would the Pakistanis have if they came to Washington and tried to remake our CIA and Army?)