It’s really morbid and arrogantly Western to call odds on the collapse of countries in the Crazy Belt. But, Reihan, since you asked, I’d see Pakistan falling apart long before Iran, which is one of the few countries in what used to be Alexander’s empire that wasn’t made up post-‘18 on something resembling the fly. Pakistan has a fair claim that war consolidated the integrity of its nationhood, but nobody can deny that the tribes — both in Baluchistan and northward — simply aren’t having it. Plus the Iranian military is fully integrated into the Islamic regime. In Pakistan things are much more complicated. And Iran has no Bhutto, of course. From time to time people insist that Iran is vulnerable to any number of local insurgencies itself, but the evidence suggests this is probably overemphasized. Michael Totten’s piece in this month’s Reason gives a fairly even-toned summary. Perhaps most significant: without US military action against it, I don’t see Iran ever crumbling apart; whereas we might easily stand by with all delicate distance and see Pakistan go down anyway.
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