I got embroiled in a gloomy problem-filled conversation over Pakistan and Afghanistan last night — and got fed up with it. So I argued that Pakistan is going through the transition that should have begun during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and really taken hold after 1989. But that didn’t happen. This time round, because failed states now threaten our comfortable Western democratic lives, minds are focused differently. The enemy is identified and the long-term goal is established. It might work. It might not. I suspect if it does work less blood will be shed than in the American Civil War and the First and Second World Wars and if that is the case, the Pakistanis will have done a lot better than us in building institutions and good governance.