American Council For World Jewry


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In Pakistan, Good Intentions Go Awry

The Obama administration is treating the situation in Pakistan with a growing sense of urgency that is entirely appropriate. Pakistan today is an unstable nuclear-armed state threatened by Islamic militancy, a combination that could make it the most dangerous country in the world. As head of an American Jewish organization, I have observed this gathering danger firsthand during several visits to the country and through meetings with its top leaders over a number of years.

I have watched with dismay as Pakistan’s crisis has escalated over the past 18 months, when the very efforts the United States has made to induce reform of the political system have instead followed the law of unintended consequences. In November 2007, the Bush administration pressured Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to step down as army chief of staff, a step to move the country out from under military rule. Washington sent a subtle but clear message that it was time for Musharraf to go, to make room for a popular opposition figure heading a secular party, Benazir Bhutto.

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