How serious is Pakistan’s offensive against Islamists in Swat? And serious or not, how successful will the offensive actually be? These questions will come much closer to being answered over the next month. “Pakistan troops seize radical cleric’s base” is only a preliminary report, but it’s the most encouraging sign of progress yet. Even if this report is confirmed, it may only mean that the radical cleric who took over Swat is in temporary hiding. Even so, this seems like a stronger indication of success on the ground than we’ve seen up to now. But again, it will take time to see if the report stands up, and if this possible success is followed up by still others. The confrontation in Swat bears watching. However it turns out, the battle will tell us something crucial about Pakistan. The press has given this story too little attention.