Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why Secure Only Pakistani Nukes?

By Adnan Gill

For last few months, Pakistan's sovereignty and the security of her nuclear arsenal has become the lightning rod for the American opinion-makers, especially for its presidential hopefuls. Pakistan has become the litmus test to grade the foreign policy expertise of the White House hopefuls. Impending presidential elections are only increasing the hysteria of nuclear-armed Pakistan becoming a ‘failed state’ vis-à-vis its nuclear weapons falling in the hands of blood-thirsty Muslim fundamentalists. The candidates are trampling over each other over who can scare the dickens out of Americans the most?

The Republican candidate, Mike Huckabee made a fool out of himself, when instead of commenting on Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, he decided to scare the Americans of the Pakistani bogeyman. He warned, “There were more Pakistanis who illegally crossed the border than of any other nationality except for those immediately south of our border. 660 last year. That’s a lot of illegals from Pakistan.” Such an irresponsible and baseless xenophobic alarm was sounded by a candidate who preaches tolerance.

For his part, the Democrat hopeful Barack Obama warned that he might use force in Pakistan to root out terrorists in their country. But the cake for upping the scaremongering goes to Hillary Clinton. Last year, she refused to rule out the use of nuclear weapons against Osama bin Laden or other terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Then this year she went even a step further by proposing a joint US-British team to oversee the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, as if they were Iraqi oilfields.

The threat to Pakistani sovereignty hardly comes from the irresponsible statements of the presidential hopefuls. These politicians are only capitalizing on the steady drumbeat of American media and the think-tanks (mostly funded by the special-interests). The systematic ratcheting up of hysteria started when a new map of the Middle East, making circles among the opinion-makers, was leaked to the public. Among other nations, it showed a fractured Pakistan too. Soon thereafter, American news media was buzzing with the statements of undisclosed American officials about plans drawn to secure Pakistani nuclear weapons. Then out of nowhere, the Newsweek declared Pakistan as the most dangerous nation. The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other American media outlets started their own fear-derbies to win the race of ‘who can make Pakistan look the scariest?’ If we didn't know any better, the fear mongers would make us believe that the Taliban armed with the captured Pakistani nukes are on their way to the American continent.

If we were to look beyond the political rhetoric and empty bravado of the White House hopefuls we come to a sad reality, that American presidents are enslaved to the advice of special-interests, who actually form the American foreign policies. These special-interests range from oil industry mega giants to the defense conglomerates. President Bush had virtually nil foreign-policy experience when he became the president, but thanks to these special-interests, as soon as he became the president, isolating China became the focus of his government's foreign policy. Soon after, it shifted to an obsession with the oil-plush Iraq.

Even when the American establishment seemingly shows its confidence in the stability of Pakistan, it leaves a door wide-open for fear mongers. Recently, in an interview with the Washington Post, the CIA director Michael Hayden said, "We've always viewed [al-Qaeda and insurgents] to be an ultimate danger to the United States, but now it appears that it is a serious base of danger to the current well-being of Pakistan." Translation, Pakistan has become an unstable nation.

Lately, Pakistan has experienced an unprecedented number of terrorist attacks and unrest in its historically volatile tribal-belt. But how these law-and-order situations make the Pakistani nuclear arsenal accessible to the terrorists or tribals is a mystery at best? If a parallel could be drawn between the terrorist activities and the insecurity of Pakistani nuclear weapons, then arguably, the nuclear arsenal of virtually every nuclear power should be secured by a global authority.

In the last 15 years, thousands of Americans have lost their lives to the terrorists, does that mean, thousands of American nuclear weapons are about to fall in the hands of terrorists? In the 80s, when the IRA attacks on both British civilians and government were at their height, why the US did not secure Great Britain’s nukes? Maybe the fear mongers could also explain why the French nuclear weapons were not secured when the North African insurgency against the French was at its peak? Conversely, the US and its European allies should also secure Indian nuclear arsenal too; as India is bleeding from at least 50 separatist movements, and over 45% or 2/5 of Indian territory is literally under the influence of Naxalite or other separatists. Similarly, they may also want to explain, why tens of thousands of Russian nuclear weapons are anymore secure than Pakistan's; as Russia is mired in the Chechen insurgency and thousands of its jobless nuclear scientists are in the market willing to work for anyone, for as little as $100 per month?

Last but not least, the tiny nation of Israel experiences far more suicide bombings, separatist attacks, and assassinations from ultraconservative Jewish groups than anyone else. This begs the question, which American will dare to even suggest securing Israeli nuclear arsenal?

http://thepost.com.pk/Previuos.aspx?dtlid=140590&src=Adnan%20Gill&date=24/01/2008

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