I learned something today from Fox News that I did not know. Considering the grave situation in Pakistan, this is very relevant.
Evidently, the Pentagon had been building a relationship with General Ashfaq Kayani for some time. They were building this relationship to secure his support for The United States and to ensure he would be dedicated and motivated to secure stability in Pakistan, come what may. As the future Chief of Army Staff, it was important for the Pentagon to know that Pakistan would remain committed to its cooperation with The United States against terrorism and that the future Chief of Army Staff would be committed to ensuring Pakistan remained relatively stable, at least to prevent grave internal unrest and to prevent the endangerment of sensitive weapons (that is, nukes).
When Musharraf declared emergency rule and Bush exhorted him to leave his post as Chief of Army Staff, it was done to bolster Kayani (especially by demonstrating America’s support for him) and to secure a peaceful transition in the military leadership from Musharraf to Kayani. This was wise and smart on the part of Bush and his administration: their man, essentially, would become Chief of Army Staff, a transition that would have to happen at some point. Now, even if Musharraf is booted from power or resigns or is assassinated, The United States will not have to fear because their man in the key position. Our concern does not seem to have been related to democracy but, instead, with the greater picture of the Pakistani military’s leadership and the stable and effective transfer of power.
It is the understanding of experts that Kayani is committed both to fighting terrorism and securing Pakistan’s relative stability. It is also clear that he is committed to having the military be responsible, that is, not allowing an Islamist coup within the military or in Pakistan.
As such, our fears for the most significant contingencies–the nukes going missing or an Islamist coup or the Pakistani military’s refusal to fight terrorism–can be put to rest.
But if Kayani is assassinated or removed, we’re in very big trouble.