I’m glad to see that Yglesias is taking up the Pakistan question, as if responding to my plea that this is probably the most important thing worthy of public comment going on in the world right now but you’d never know it from the papers. He penned a really clever title, too. That said, I have no idea what he means by his concluding paragraph:
Realistically, the potential collapse of the Pakistani state is a bigger problem for Pakistanis than it is for Americans. We can’t make Pakistani institutions more effective than the people running them want to be. And in candor, when you talk to Americans with experience in the region, you never hear them say that the Pakistan security services are run by really competent, honest, trustworthy, well-intentioned people who deserve our help. You hear scare stories about how bad things might get if things go totally south there. But I’m a lot more comfortable with policies grounded in plausible stories about how we’re going to succeed than with policies grounded in plausible stories about how failure would be undesirable.