Pakistan Weighs a Blast

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ISLAMABAD: Washington won’t need on-point satellite intelligence to anticipate Pakistan's test of a nuclear device in the near future. The signs are hard to miss: “To stop Pakistan from testing, the G8 summit would have had to come out with tangible and strong penalties against India,” says TIME intelligence correspondent Douglas Waller. “But the summit came up only with rhetoric, not concrete measures.”

With Pakistan already under U.S. sanctions for its nuclear program, adds Waller, “there are not many levers left to pull." And pressure from Islamic fundamentalists and other opposition parties is likely to spur Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to test. “Most observers here would be amazed if a test does not take place,” reports TIME Islamabad correspondent Hannah Bloch.

Without Europe’s support on immediate, tough action against India, the best efforts of the U.S. are unlikely to avert another seismic bang -- leaving Washington to ponder how a region tapped for another photogenic presidential excursion later this year suddenly turned into a nuclear hot zone.