An article by Teresita C. Schaffer on political upheaval in Pakistan.
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The attack on the authority of the Pakistani state that is being played out on the front pages of today’s newspapers has been building up for the better part of a decade. Reestablishing a stronger political and state structure is possible, but becomes more difficult each time the state appears to cede control to the insurgents. The U.S. strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan acknowledges the central importance of strengthening the Pakistani state. In practice, the United States has only indirect influence over the key ingredient in such an effort—the determination of Pakistan’s leaders and the effectiveness of its basic government institutions.