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India's Problem Is Pakistan's Problem Is Obama's Problem

On ABC's "This Week," Pakistan's ambassador to the US explained how his nation would react to a buildup of Indian troops along the countries' shared border:

Pakistan would then have to of course bolster its military presence along the border with India. And that may have to take troops away from the northwest frontier province and the border with Afghanistan, and nobody wants that.

No, they don't--especially not the US. It's been hard enough persuading Pakistan to get serious about fighting Islamic militants in its tribal areas--people who are surely plotting attacks against the West, and are severely destabilizing Afghanistan. We've only just recently begun to make progress. A huge diversion to confront India would be a big step backwards. (Not to mention that whole potential-nuclear-war thing, which is more plausible than most Americans may realize.)

So an India-Pakistan confrontation is bad news for America. The question is, who in Washington is minding this store? One would hope that, much like the financial crisis, the Bush and Obama teams work together to avoid inaction and drift.

P.S. Today Stephanopoulos also mentioned some loose talk of Bill Clinton as a special envoy to manage the Kashmir problem. I examined the backstory in an item--which then seemed awfully arcane--just a few days before the attacks.

--Michael Crowley