Does anyone take serious words seriously anymore here in Washington?
News item No. 1 concerns the testimony of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on April 22. She said deteriorating security in nuclear-armed Pakistan "poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world."
News item No. 2 is this headline on the front page of the May 4 edition of The Washington Post: "U.S. Options in Pakistan Limited."
News item No. 3 is a quote in Jackson Diehl's May 4 column in The Washington Post from a senior Obama administration official: "It's not good when your national security interests are dependent on a country over which you have almost no influence."
In a matter of two weeks, we have gone from witnessing the U.S. secretary of state testify to Congress that a nuclear Pakistan run by Islamist radicals would be a "mortal threat" to America to hearing the administration admit that we have limited options to avoid such a threat.
What are we to make of such a development? I and many others had previously warned of the dangers of a nuclear "Talibanistan" (which have been obvious and talked about for years). Experts I have talked to in the past week do not believe Clinton is overstating the case. Nor do I. She is very careful with her words -- and they fit the danger.
If Pakistan's nuclear weapons were to get into the hands of Taliban or al-Qaida, even unlaunched, they would provide the weapons-grade fissile materiel necessary to create a nuclear holocaust, here in the United States or elsewhere.
How did it come to be that the government of the most powerful nation in the history of humanity (with a population of 300 million-plus and a gross domestic product of about $14 trillion, which is larger than the second-, third- and fourth-largest economies -- Japan, Germany and China -- combined) has confessed that its options are limited regarding a "mortal threat" to it?
And what are we going to do about it? I don't blame the Obama administration -- not yet. It inherited our current national military strength. But it has been obvious for years that we are not prepared to deal with a world that refuses to behave as we either predict or prefer. And we need to start catching up with the growing contingent threats.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.