I judge the value of any journal of current events by the extent to which it informs me not of the day’s events, but of tomorrow’s events. The New Yorker has a knack for publishing informative articles about seemingly esoteric topics that are making headlines a few weeks later. As Pakistan destabilizes under the increasingly tight grip of Pervez Musharraf, the value of Nicholas Schmidle’s “Waiting for the Worst: Baluchistan, 2006” becomes clear. Schmidle looked at the state of the nation through the lens of the simmering conflict between the gas-rich, cash-poor Baluchistan province and the comparatively affluent remainder of the nation, and it didn’t look good. Nationalist rebels are eager to create an independent Baluch nation, and that must weigh heavily on Musharraf’s mind as he starts to lose control over Pakistan. If you didn’t read the article when it came out, give it ten minutes now to gain some insight into the country’s troubles.
11/12 Update: Nicholas writes to tell us that he’s spending his days in Islamabad, and has contributed a pair of blog entries to The New Republic on the latest events, one on the showdown at Benazir Bhutto’s house and another on parallels between Iran and Pakistan. Incidentally, I did the math, and TNR’s URL schema supports 1.5354 (or 1.53 septendecillion) unique addresses. Now that’s planning ahead.