Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf claims he is the foremost ally of the United States. Certainly he is a major recipient of Washington's largess. And with equal certainty he is the most frightening of friends.
Enemies can be more easily understood. The reasons that Musharraf scares many people are complex.
First, he makes deals with his enemies that he believes are secret.
Second, he denies that any deals have been made, which adds to his enemy list.
Third, he believes that he can rely on his Western allies for continual financial and military aid. And he appears to believe that his neighbor India -- a huge non-Muslim country that his military dismisses as "cow worshipers" -- lacks the will and ability to move against Pakistan.
Why would India be a threat? Throughout the major cities of Pakistan -- Islamabad and Karachi in particular -- there are large communities of Indians, second- and third-generation families that have never returned to India since partition more than 50 years ago.
In a time of civil disorder, Indians are at risk for their homes, their goods and their lives. With a major part of the Asian subcontinent -- from Myanmar to Bangladesh, through Pakistan to Afghanistan and Thailand -- in a revolting-mode, India will not remain aloof from the pain of seeing blood relatives bombed, burned, raped and killed by Muslim fanatics.
It is a tinderbox waiting to be struck into a nuclear explosion. Why nuclear? Both Pakistan and India have small nuclear arsenals together with intercontinental ballistic missiles available capable of eliminating each other's cities. Talking to Indian and Pakistani military strategists recently, it was learned that both countries believed they could survive a "first strike."
Pakistan, because its true economy is agricultural, and if the huge city of Karachiwere were eliminated, it would make the country as a whole much more governable.
The same goes for India. Its military expects a Pakistani attack on the port city of Mumbai (once known as Bombay) and on the capital city of Delhi. But the government already has its evacuation plan in place and is ready to run hard and fast and, perhaps, fight another day.
But the real menace from Pakistan is in three letters: "ISI," which represent the initials of Inter-Services Intelligence. …