Do you think that Secretary of State Clinton flew all the way to Islamabad to “try to smooth over” relations between the United States and Pakistan? I don’t.
Do you think she had the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, attend those meetings with her because he’s particularly good at smoothing things over with the Pakistani leadership? Me neither.
As it happens, the meeting(s) did not appear to go well, as The New York Times put it in the first paragraph of their story today. The body English was dreadful, the tension palpable, there was “visible discomfort;” you know all the cliches.
The Washington Post, meanwhile, reported today that Pakistan’s leading military commanders were increasingly concerned that their chain of command had been infiltrated by radical Islamist sympathizers. “We are under attack, and the attackers are getting highly confidential information about their targets,” one Pakistani intelligence official told The Post.
Yesterday, the Taliban said through a spokesperson that it had no intention of attacking Pakistan’s nuclear weapons sites, since it expected to take over the country soon and wanted all of the systems around those weapons in good working order.
One suspects that this was the real purpose of Mrs. Clinton’s and Admiral Mullen’s visit; to express “deep concern” about the status of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and to get specific answers to specific questions as to how that arsenal is being protected and will be defended.
It is being protected and defended, to a large degree, by Pakistan’s military. US intelligence believes that roughly a third of the officer corps of Pakistan’s military are sympathetic to radical Islamist elements. That’s the kind of maths that makes people like Hillary Clinton and Admiral Mullen look as troubled as they looked at their press conferences yesterday.