Kaplan weighs in on Pakistan:

Now backed by the United States, Zardari must get the Taliban rebellion in Pakistan's tribal areas under control, calm the fires of separatism and insurgency in the province of Baluchistan, and work with the prime minister to get Pakistan's economy moving again. A life spent getting rich quick provides him little experience in these affairs. Does he even have the emotional will and strength of character to work seriously on matters that would challenge even the best and most well-meaning of politicians?

If Zardari fails, the military might once again step in to fill the power vacuum -- but in a manner different from previous military coups.

In Pakistan's muddled history, generals and politicians have taken turns in power, and both have failed. But the West would condemn another coup, and Baluch and Sindhi minorities -- who see the military as a Punjabi conspiracy -- would erupt in nationalist fury if the military seized power. What we might watch for in the months ahead are signs of a creeping, undeclared coup, in which Zardari and opposition leader Sharif engage in a soap opera of political machinations against each other, while the tribal areas and other parts of the country slip into partial anarchy. The military would quietly assert itself, filling the gap in governance. Military rule would prevail, in all but name. That scenario is what the former playboy Zardari threatens to unleash.

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