Well, when things go bad, I guess they go bad in bunches.
The Middle East is crashing down on the heads of pro-America dictators everywhere. From Tunisia to Algeria. From Egypt to Jordan. And of course, prior to these well-known revolutions, Hezbollah decided to stage a “constitutional” overthrow of the Western backed Lebanese government….we didn’t do anything about that by the way….
So, it should hardly be surprising to find that new intelligence reveals a massive nuclear weapons escalation in Pakistan, putting them on track to pass the United Kingdom as the 5th largest nuclear-armed country in the world.
Surprising? Not entirely. Concerning? You betcha.
There are several arguments as to why this is a terrible development, but the most obvious is the fear that Pakistani weapons will fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda. Granted, the probability of an entire nuclear weapon being hijacked by the terrorist organization is minimal….but then, that there is even a possibility of weapons theft is not a reality I am completely comfortable with….
The far more probable reality is the gradual theft of nuclear fuel from mass production factory sites. In such an environment, it is much easier to sneak away some of the material in small quantities without being discovered. In fact, statistics show that most instances of nuclear theft occur in such a manner:
“The biggest concern of major production, to my mind, is theft from the places where the material is being handled in bulk — the plants that produce it, convert it to metal, fabricate it into bomb parts, and so on,” said Matthew Bunn, a Harvard scholar who compiles an annual report called “Securing the Bomb” for the group Nuclear Threat Initiative. “All but one of the real thefts” of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, he said, “were insider thefts from bulk-handling facilities — that’s where you can squirrel a little bit away without the loss being detected.”
While the amount of available nuclear weaponry and the lack of security measures is concerning, perhaps the most pressing issue is not the current capabilities of Pakistan, but the potential for even greater development. Estimates suggest that Pakistan may have enough excess nuclear material for the production of 40-100 additional nuclear weapons. Such a stockpile would push the Pakistani arsenal past France as the 4th largest nuclear power in the world. Of several states interviewed by the Washington Post (including India) the overwhelming response was a fear of production capabilities more-so than current nuclear development:
On Monday, The Washington Post, citing nongovernment analysts, said Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal now numbered more than 100 deployed weapons. In interviews over the past three weeks, government officials from several countries, including India, which has an interest in raising the alarm about Pakistani capability, provided glimpses of their own estimates.
Almost all, however, said their real concern was not the weapons, but the increase in the production of material, especially plutonium. Pakistan is completing work on a large new plutonium production reactor, which will greatly increase its ability to produce a powerful new generation of weapons, but also defies Mr. Obama’s initiative to halt the production of weapons-grade material.
When Barack Obama took office, Pakistan boasted a modest weapons cache in the “mid to high 70s.” It is now expected to be a large as 110….which seems to beg the question: why didn’t we do anything about it? Kind of like when Hezzbollah decided on a whim to take over their government and we sat on our hands and talked about “constitutional processes” or some other such nonsense…
However, while the answer to the question in Lebanon is more open ended, the answer in Pakistan is certainly more clear cut, and of course, it all goes back to Afghanistan. Because we could hardly afford to pressure Pakistan into halting nuclear weapons production when we need them to move troops from the Indian border to help out along the border with Afghanistan. ….because they’re definitely going to step up an help us there….right??
Wrong. They are completely unwilling to move more troops to help us in Afghanistan, and there is no greater sign of that resistance than this new development. Here’s what one official said about the new nuclear production:
Still, it is unclear how Pakistan is financing the new weapons production, at a time of extraordinary financial stress in the country. “What does Pakistan need with that many nuclear weapons, especially given the state of the country’s economy?” said one foreign official who is familiar with the country’s plans, but agreed to discuss the classified program if granted anonymity.
“The country already has more than enough weapons for an effective deterrent against India,” the official said. “This is just for the generals to say they have more than India.”
Right. It’s all about India. It always has been. And now, a country with a wrecked economy and ZERO significant financial assets– other than the billions we send them in foreign aid– has decided to spend that money ramping up nuclear weapons production just to one-up India….
We still think they are going to help us in Afghanistan? Because all of that money spent on nuclear weapons is probably money we gave them to fix up their decrepit economy and fund troop deployments to the border with Afghanistan….
Of course, the Administration is mute on the issue except to state that the “Pakistani nuclear arsenal is secure.” The idea is that if we say anything in opposition to the nuclear production, Pakistan won’t help us in Afghanistan. Except that if we don’t say anything about it, they also won’t help us….
So, what are we going to do? Wait around while more American troops die for nothing in the deserts of the Middle East? Then, when we pull out of there, we’re facing a significant threat to global security in a Pakistani nation who has developed an out of control nuclear weapons arsenal while we sat by and did nothing….and its going to be completely our fault. Thanks, Mr. President.
This is appeasement on a grand scale. We have a regular Neville Chamberlain in the White House, and the last time we had one of those, Germany tried to take over the world.