Pakistan may be essentially forfeiting its own sovereignty if it proves incapable of cracking down on militants like those that launched the recent attacks on Mumbai. Speaking on the BBC’s World News America, Bob Kagan expressed serious doubts that the Pakistani civilian government will be able to crack down effectively, notwithstanding the fact that many of these groups once counted on support from the previous Pakistani government. In order to prove—especially to India—that it truly does not condone terrorist activity, the current Pakistani government would need to start “decapitating” these groups by apprehending several leaders of the organization that launched the Mumbai attacks.

If Pakistan cannot take effective action against these terrorist groups, the international community may be forced to declare the country’s tribal regions “a menace to international security,” warranting intervention. Kagan likens the situation to the “Responsibility to Protect,” saying that in this case the international community should intervene to protect Pakistan’s neighbors from the growing threat posed by Pakistani-based terrorists. Ideally, the prospect of losing its full sovereignty would force Pakistan to take more serious action on its own, but if not, Kagan maintains that the international community must be ready to step in.

Click here to listen to the full interview.