The Pakistan state (meaning primarily its Army, its Inter-Services Intelligence and secondly the PM and the president) is increasingly pushed against the wall. Its handling of the investigation on the Mumbai attack may become decisive for its future.

Obama often “talked tough on Pakistan” during the election campaign. In August 2008 USA unusually decided to publicly implicate Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul in July 2008. Musharraf did publicly banned various terrorist groups based in Pakistan in January 2002. However, apparently Washington knows that Pakistan has continued to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy and it is no longer silent about such matters in deference to Pakistan’s strategic role in the “war on terror”. [url=”http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/world/asia/01pstan.html?hp”%5DNYT%5B/url%5D

Following the Mumbai attacks India implicated Pakistan as usual. Moreover a US counter-terrorist official said that “signatures of the attack” were consistent with the work of Pakistani militant groups such as [url=”http://www.cfr.org/publication/17882/”%5DLeT%5B/url%5D or JeT with links to both ISI and alQaida (and operating in Kashmir and elsewhere). [url=”http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/29/world/main4637744.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_4637744″%5DCBS%5B/url%5D

A US congressional investigation into weapons of mass destruction presented today predicts terrorist attack with biological or nuclear weapons within the next five years. The report believe that Pakistan will be the most likely source. [url=”http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/03/terrorism-nuclear-biological-obama-white-house”%5DGuardian%5B/url%5D

What can Pakistan do in order to calm down an increasingly hairy situation?

Shaun Gregory head of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at the University of Bradford hopes that the Pakistan army and ISI are now willing to seriously subordinate themselves to the democratically elected civilian leadership of Pakistan. A leadership that want to cooperate in the Mumbai attack investigation and want to normalize the relation to India.

Then let’s see what USA, China, Russia and others may do.

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One of the ambitions of this blog is to discuss which role USA can and “should” play in the process of world order reconstruction post January 20 2009. The contributors are of Scandinavian origin, so there is always a risk of a Scandinavian bias. Arguments will sometimes rely on analysts within the traditions of critical theory, international relations, international political economy, “global studies” and the like. However, most posts will be of an informal character and not have any academic ambitions.

It’s widely accepted that the world needs some kind of world order. But naturally views diverge on how this order should, or can, be organized. At present the world order is hard to define. USA still dominates the scene. However, its legitimacy has declined ever since the Vietnam war and the fall of the Bretton Woods system 1.0. and sharply over the last 8 years as a result of fallacious wars and economic policies.

Things are moving fast and there are obviously many issues external of USA’s direct influence. And there are indeed plenty of global issues that requires global solutions and more socially and ecologically oriented global governance institutions. Perhaps we will experience a period of widespread turmoil and catastrophe as a result of the collapse of warp-speed economic globalization and even US dominance before things settle. Some argue that UN is a spent force, even though one may hope that the world organization will play an even more important role in a Post-Westphalian phase. But perhaps a balance dominated by self-interested regional superpowers may emerge. Alternatively, we may experience an era of Multiregionalism with EU as the exemplar (I will try to find interesting articles on EU:s potential roles).

USA will, however, remain a key player for the foreseeable future and there are great hopes and expectations, within and outside of USA, that the Obama administration will ensure that USA seek legitimate and cooperative ways to meet the global challenges that faces humanity in the 21st century.

Changes are already happening to some extent […] and you can help it along. But, again, be careful how you do it. America’s reputation has become so tarnished that giving your support to local activists and popular opposition movements can easily discredit them in the eyes of their peers. So the first thing you have to do is set an example and start rebuilding America’s image abroad.

Brian Whitaker, The Guardian