June 11, 2012

Pakistan without nukes

That will rank as important in preserving world peace as the death of Osama Bin Laden, says N.V.Subramanian.

11 June 2012: So long the United States and its allies desist from denuclearizing Pakistan, it will remain a menace to world peace. Pakistan's nuclear weapons have insulated it from Western intervention that have been misguidedly directed in the past and present against Iraq, Libya and Syria. It is under the nuclear overhang that Pakistan has prosecuted terror wars against India, making escalatory retaliation inconceivable.

Nukes make Pakistan brash and bold in its Afghan misadventures. In the immediate post-9/11 phase, the United States threatened to bomb Pakistan back to Stone Age if it didn't disengage with the Taliban regime. Its then military dictator, Parvez Musharraf, grudgingly complied with US orders. The United States hasn't gotten anywhere as tough since.
It is true that Pakistan has a long history of supplicating to the United States unlike the destroyed states of Iraq, Libya and Syria. Pakistan was a US Cold War ally right up to the breakup of the Soviet Union. It played a key role in the 1970s' US-China gang-up against the USSR. And in all this period, the Pakistan military was close to the Pentagon, which looked the other way at Pakistani provocations against India.

But 9/11 was supposed to mark the US-Pakistan breakup, but it hasn't happened quite as sharply. After the Stone Age threat, the United States lapsed into a mindless, unwinnable war in Iraq. Barack Obama returned the focus to Pakistani terrorism in Afghanistan against NATO forces and Indian diplomatic/ civilian assets, but it hasn't notched up higher than drone attacks against terrorists holed out in FATA. The root cause of Pakistani terrorism is its nuclear weapons. But nothing has been done about it.

Now if the US could scare Pakistan right after 9/11 despite its nuclear weapons, why not since? That is a detail only the US government can provide. But from the outside, some guesswork is possible.

It is a fact that Pakistan has scaled up its inventory of nuclear weapons, surpassing India's, according to some estimates. Pakistan's excuse is the stalled FMCT negotiations, India, and in particular its bogus fear that the Indo-US nuclear deal frees up domestic uranium for bombs.

What seems more likely is that a large number of well-dispersed nukes would make a US denuclearization raid unsuccessful. But would that fact make Pakistan less scared of a US "Stone Age" bombing campaign? No. Then why hasn't the US reiterated that threat since after 9/11, especially with evidence of Pakistani terrorism against US and other NATO forces in Afghanistan?
Why hasn't it moved towards full-fledged invasion of Pakistan, overriding dissuasive factors such as propping up Pakistani democracy, its alliance with Saudi Arabia, and so forth?

This writer suspects that the US suspects that Pakistan has positioned fissile assets to be "leaked" to terrorists in the event of a US invasion. In the face of external aggression, Pakistan's reflex would be to target India. It has done so with terrorism in the past, and may ratchet up the nuclear option now.

But the US perhaps apprehends that, apart from the reflexive strike on India, the leaked weapons may be employed against it, against invading American forces, and in Europe (if not in the mainland), which has a growing tribe of Al-Qaeda volunteers. It is this that prevents US intervention in Pakistan.

But how long can the United States turn away from the cancer called Pakistan? Its nukes are a threat to world peace in ways deterrence theory cannot imagine. Neither Pakistan nor the world can afford to have Pakistani nukes. They must be taken out for a nearly final solution against terrorism.

Denuclearization of Pakistan must be accorded the same priority as the hunting down of Osama Bin Laden. This writer argued that Al-Qaeda would be finished as a centralized terrorist organization without Bin Laden. So it has. Minus nukes, Pakistan would be compelled to return to civilized and peaceable nationhood.

N.V.Subramanian is Editor of www.newsinsight.net and writes on politics and strategic affairs. Email: envysub@gmail.com


Anonymous said...

India should at least keep 100 billion dollars to see that Pak is denuked!!pak's nukes are only against India and India as like killing a mad dog at any cost should denuke pak!!

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