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By CNN's Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) – I’m really worried about U.S.-Pakistani relations. Things are not moving in the right direction. Indeed, they are moving toward a potential disaster for both countries - and the region - unless cooler heads prevail.
There are a few givens we have to keep in mind.
Pakistan is a nuclear power. It has dozens of nuclear bombs in its arsenal. Right now, everyone agrees those bombs are secure. But if the situation in Pakistan were to deteriorate, that stockpile could be vulnerable.
At the last Republican presidential debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry was asked what he – as president – would do if he got a 3 a.m. phone call saying the Taliban had taken over Pakistan and controlled its nuclear weapons. Perry did not have a good answer. I’m not sure there is a good answer to that hypothetical question.
If you believe senior U.S. officials, Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, is fully aligned with the Haqqani terror network. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said publicly that elements of the ISI actually coordinated the recent Haqqani attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Last week, I interviewed Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar who flatly rejected those accusations. But U.S. officials are not backing away.
Indeed, they almost certainly will soon declare the entire Haqqani network a terror organization, joining al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah, among others.
If the Pakistani government continues to support the Haqqani network, the Obama administration might then begin to cut some of the $2 billion a year in military and economic aid to Pakistan under the principle that if you support a terror network, you are effectively part of that terror network.
Unlike the United States, Pakistan has to remain in that region forever. That’s probably why the ISI believes it needs to foster a good relationship with the Haqqani network and other unsavory elements.
But unless that kind of thinking changes, I suspect the U.S.-Pakistani relationship will worsen. The consequences could be disastrous for all concerned. The stakes could not be more enormous.