Pakistan: A Moving Target

Jeffrey Goldberg explains America's relationship with this unstable nuclear power

In The Atlantic's December cover story, "The Ally From Hell," Jeffrey Goldberg and Marc Ambinder explore the complicated relationship between the United States and Pakistan. Here Goldberg talks to Atlantic Deputy Editor Scott Stossel about why America relies on Pakistan -- and why Pakistan's policies put American lives in such danger.

Also see:
The Ally From Hell by Jeffrey Goldberg and Marc Ambinder
The Atlantic, December 2011

Much of the world, of course, is anxious about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and for good reason: Pakistan is an unstable and violent country located at the epicenter of global jihadism, and it has been the foremost supplier of nuclear technology to such rogue states as Iran and North Korea. It is perfectly sensible to believe that Pakistan might not be the safest place on Earth to warehouse 100 or more nuclear weapons. These weapons are stored on bases and in facilities spread across the country (possibly including one within several miles of Abbottabad, a city that, in addition to having hosted Osama bin Laden, is home to many partisans of the jihadist group Harakat-ul-Mujahideen). Western leaders have stated that a paramount goal of their counterterrorism efforts is to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of jihadists.

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she edits digital features.

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