This is how it will be.
Soon, very soon, there will be one, two, three, maybe four nuclear explosions.
They will happen because of Pakistan.
Conditions are already in place that point to a nuclear episode in the near future. Here they are in no particular order:
1. The Taliban are 100 miles from Islamabad. For those who missed school the day they passed out the geography plugins, Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan. The Taliban's being 100 miles away? It's like from San Diego to Los Angeles.
2. The USA is distracted. The USA is the only country in the world with the capability of moving 25,000 troops (with their armor and equipment, including tactical nukes) from Point A to Point B anywhere in the world within 24 hours. But right now (and for several years to come), the USA is hobbled by the economic crisis.
3. India, because of the Mumbai incident last Christmas, is watching events in Pakistan with one finger on the nuclear button.
4. China, because of its restless Uighur Muslim minority, is watching events in Pakistan with deep concern.
5. Iran is feverishly trying to get its nuclear program up and running. Some think it's doing so because of a perceived threat from the USA and Israel. That's bullshit. Iran's nightmare is the Taliban with nukes.
So the Taliban are 100 miles from paydirt.
Here's where they are now:
See where it says "SWAT"? That's a mountainous region 100 miles from Islamabad. Some people refer to it as the Switzerland of Pakistan. Great skiing. It's now Taliban country, meaning you can leave your skis at home. In fact, don't come at all unless your thing is Muslim revolution. If that's your thing, there's lots of work there for you. Here's a taste of what's going on:
The brutal murder of Shabana in the Swat Valley once again drove home who is in control – the Taliban,not the government. Shabana's bullet-ridden body of was discovered in the centre of Mingora's Green Square. Her body was found slumped on the ground, strewn with bank notes, CDs of her dance performances and pictures from her photo album. In case anyone had not grasped the message, the local Taliban commander Maulana Shah Dauran broadcast a warning on its FM radio stations in the valley: his men had killed her and if any other girls were found performing in the city's Bazaar they would be killed "one by one".
This weekend the last of the bazaar's dancing girls, many of whom had trained under Shabana's wing and lived in her house, were seen loading their belongings on to trucks and fleeing to the relative safety of Karachi and Lahore, where their talents remain in great demand.
The performances of the dancing girls in the Bazaar had been one of the city's last "vices", but in the narrow street where, until last week, they plied their trade, signs were posted on doors stating: "We have stopped dancing, please do not knock on the door."
The street now closes at 8pm and only those who live there can leave or enter.
The Taliban are in the process of consolidating their hold on Swat. That means, they're killing (or punishing) sinners, to the delight of the believers. And these sinners they're going after include Shi'ites, by the way. The Taliban are hard-core Sunnis. Shi'ites are heretics.
The Taliban have no intention of stopping with Swat. Swat is the beginning. Today Swat, tomorrow Pakistan, next year, the World.
The President of Pakistan, three days ago, said, "This is war for the survival of the country." Survival of the country. When did you last hear a leader of a sovereign state say that?
The problem is, Pakistan's military can't (or won't) fight for its survival. The Pakistani Army is in the Swat Valley in force (whatever that means). But the Army hides. The Army is afraid.
The Taliban will grow bolder. They will soon strike at the heart of the Pakistani government. As in "On to Islamabad!"
If they succeed (and I think they have a good shot), they will have nuclear weapons and a delivery system (missiles). Oh dear! Did I forget to mention that Pakistan is a member in good standing (whatever that means) of the Nuclear Club?
What do you think China and India will do then? What do you think Iran will do? What do you think the USA will do?
Oh my! Is that a mushroom cloud I see?