Everyone seems to be rambling a bit in response to Charlie Gibson’s question about Pakistan. It seems to me that the main thing to say about a hypothetical scenario where in radicals somehow seize control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons is that one of the first responsibilities of a President faced with a crisis in Pakistan would be to make sure that doesn’t happen. Once it does happen, obviously all the options look bad.
John Edwards pivoted a bit to the broader issue of non-proliferation policy where he gave a fantastic answer about the need to combine short-term efforts with a long-term commitment to “rid the world of nuclear weapons” as part of a broad push to revitalize the non-proliferation framework.
On his second go-round Barack Obama gets to drive home the point that the Iraq War is one of the major reasons that our policy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan area has gotten so screwed up. This is the kind of strategic-level argument that any Democrat is going to need to make against a Republican who can’t be specifically tied to the details of Bush’s inept Iraq policy.
UPDATE: Given a second, clearer shot at the nuclear proliferation issue Edwards and Obama both offered great responses. Clinton’s decision to put bureaucratic reorganization of the non-proliferation apparatus — rather than substantive shifts in policy — struck me as a bit odd, but perhaps in line with her broader argument about experience. She knows the nitty-gritty details of executive branch organization.