Benezir Bhutto's assassination yesterday was a forseeable disaster. The Islamic radicals were not only outraged by her gender, and the message that she sent to Pakistani women, but by her class; this was the struggle between modernity and tradition writ large. Why did she chose to return to Pakistan and put herself in such danger? Several Al Qaeda worlords in Waziristan had threatened her life. Was the weakness of Musharraf so profound that it exerted an irresistable tidal pull on this ambitious politician? We probably will know a lot more in a couple of years.
Now, however, we have to live with the aftermath. Pakistan's co-operation is absolutely vital in the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Instability and chaos benefit the Islamonazis greatly. Pakistan falling into the hands of a hostile government would be the defeat of our efforts and would lead to the reimposition of the nightmare rule of the Taliban on the long-suffering Afghans. It could lead to the radicalization of Pakistan which would be a menace to our ally India and also cause our enemy Iran to acquire nukes quickly as a defence against militant Sunnis with nukes. The region will have moved much closer to nuclear war. Thats the worst-case scenario. Lets see who gets blamed for this and what the political results will be.
The obvious culprits are the Islamofascists but there is another player who benefits mightily from this horrible deed...Nawaz Sharif. He was the one that sanctioned the Pakistani nuke program and was a mentor of AQ Khan, who helped get the North Korean and Iranian nuke programs up and running in the 90's. Musharraf took power after Sharif tried to kill him by refusing an airplane with a couple of hundred passengers (one of which was Musharraf) permission to land. He is a conniving, corrupt and devious man and he is a long step closer to regaining power with Ms. Bhutto's death. Sharif is capable of having made some kind of deal with the Islamocrazies to further that end.
I dont have any way to support this speculation with evidence. It is based on past actions and the fact that Sharif will use this incident to seize power and thus is its greatest beneficiary.