Tom Diaz

ABOUT THOSE PAKISTANI NUKES — ATOMIC SCIENTISTS SAY “RELAX”

In Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, Terrorism and counter-terrorism on June 2, 2009 at 4:50 pm
NuclearExplosion

Last refuge of All Desperate Arguments

If you’re worried that the Taliban or some other equally malevolent group of half-baked nitwits are going to seize power and stuff a suitcase full of Pakistani nuclear weapons, you can relax.

Pakistani Army Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, chief of army staff

Pakistani Army Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, chief of army staff

According to Lawrence Korb, writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Pakistani armed forces have the situation well under control.  Korb was Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration from 1981-1985 and is now senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.  Here is an excerpt, or you can read the whole article here:

Pakistan has a great many political, economic, and social problems that prevent it from achieving its full potential. But the majority of the population wants the duly constituted government to fulfill its responsibilities to promote the general welfare and provide for the common defense. They aren’t looking to some outside force such as the Taliban to assume control of the country and solve these problems. Unlike Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Taliban in Pakistan isn’t seen as a group capable of imposing order on a chaotic situation. Rather, the Taliban is seen as an organization trying to upset the existing order. For instance, the majority of the Pakistani population urged the government to take forceful action against the Taliban when it reneged on its agreement in the Swat District.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen reviews Pakistani troops during a ceremony honoring Mullen's arrival to Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 9, 2008.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen reviews Pakistani troops during a ceremony honoring Mullen's arrival to Islamabad, Pakistan, Feb. 9, 2008.

Moreover, at this time, the Pakistani Army has no desire to seize political power, nor will it let the Taliban take control of Pakistan proper or seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. The Pakistani Army jealously guards its reputation. In fact, it places a higher priority on its reputation and its interest than that of the country. The army knows that if it staged a coup at this time, it would become responsible for all of the country’s economic and social problems.

Likewise, the Pakistani military, which numbers about 1 million soldiers, has enough brute force to prevent the Taliban from breaking out of the rural areas of the frontier provinces and into the heart of Pakistan, even if it keeps a large contingent on the border with India. Since the army knows that the collateral damage–including creating refugees–would be significant if it uses force, it won’t take action until ordered to do so by the prime minister and the Parliament.

The security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal By Lawrence J. Korb, 19 May 2009

There.  Feel better?

Not Convinced -- More Waterboarding!

Not Convinced -- More Waterboarding!

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