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Flash Points: The Geo-Political Impact of Pakistan's Floods


Pakistan's devastating floods are the worst in the nation's 63-year history. About 1,500 people have been killed and as many as 14 million more are facing famine and disease, according to the United Nations.

On Friday's Washington Unplugged, CBS News National Security Analyst Juan Zarate told CBS News' Bob Orr that the damage isn't done, and there are larger issues at stake.

"This is problematic for a Pakistan that was already in trouble economically, in terms of its stability, in terms of a weak and unpopular government, and the insurgency -- the Pakistan Taliban and others, operating in Western Pakistan," he said.

Orr asked Zarate, "You have this dynamic where you have an entrenched force there, the Pakistan Taliban coming out and trying to do humantiarian efforts, and aren't we [the United States] in a race for hearts and minds here?"

The Pakistan Taliban did offer the nation $20 million in aid, in exchange for not accepting offers from the United States.

"You do have a race here," Zarate responded. "The problem for the United States is that our efforts are tied to the Pakistani government's efforts, logistically as well as in terms of perception. It's very difficult for us to get out in front of this. The Pakistani government has come under a lot of criticism, including its leadership, for not doing enough, quickly enough."

The United States, however, has an opportunity to not only help millions of people but also win hearts and minds there by providing substantial aid.

"It's getting worse. People are going to need food, shelter, and relief," Zarate told Orr. "You already see the United States military mobilizing with 19 helicopters going in, $35 million already deployed and lots of attention now because of the geo-political impact."

Watch Friday's Washington Unplugged above, also featuring Zarate on the ongoing U.N. investigation into the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, tensions between China and the U.S. over the South China Sea and the arrest of Radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir for helping to plan terrorist attacks in Indonesia. Plus, watch a report from Sharyl Attkisson on Bingo's booming business.

Check out Zarate's OpEd, "Obama and Bush: Together on Terror Law" in Friday's Wall Street Journal

"Washington Unplugged,"'s exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on each weekday at 2:00 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.

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