Benazir Bhutto’s murder vastly reduces the West’s options in Pakistan. Bhutto, while flawed in many ways, at least offered a secular and relatively liberal alternative to Musharraf. Musharraf now knows that the West has no palatable alternative to him—Nawaz Sharif is too Islamist for Washington and London’s comfort—and so will be less concerned about Western demands that this January’s Parliamentary elections go ahead.
The handling of Pakistan has been America’s greatest strategic failure in the war on terror to date. Today, Pakistan is a significant step closer to being a nuclear armed, failed state.