By Stephen C. Rose
If you do not read to the final words of today's NTTimes dispatch on the possibility of nuclear mischief by the surging Taliban in Pakistan, then you will not understand why we have for weeks issued a warning, a warning that even today's Times downplays.
Here they are. Read well.
David Albright and Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security wrote in a recent report documenting the progress of those facilities, "In the current climate, with Pakistan's leadership under duress from daily acts of violence by insurgent Taliban forces and organized political opposition, the security of any nuclear material produced in these reactors is in question." The Pakistanis, not surprisingly, dismiss those fears as American and Indian paranoia, intended to dissuade them from nuclear modernization. But the government's credibility is still colored by the fact that it used equal vehemence to denounce as fabrications the reports that Abdul Qadeer Khan, one of the architects of Pakistan's race for the nuclear bomb, had sold nuclear technology on the black market.
In the end, those reports turned out to be true. SOURCE
The nuclear issue runs clear back to the beginning when we, the US, used faulty logic and distorted facts to justify the use of two decimating actions that killed and maimed countless Japanese at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Since then, save for tests which themselves took a toll, as residents of St. George, Utah, and other locales east of the Nevada Test Site, well know, we have avoided nuclear war. We did so mainly by the MAD structure of the Cold War. Mutually Assured Destruction.
I have argued here for an updating of George Kennan's original containment thesis, a proposition which was not implemented in full during the Cold War, but one which makes sense in dealing with the global terror threat.
But the proximate threat of an actual, successful terror effort that would place nuclear weapons in the grasp of the Taliban and their allies rises to the level of an emergency that requires an emergency response.
Immediately, we need to convene an international meeting to swiftly put flesh on a new, second-generation UN peace keeping apparatus. This would not be rag-tag elements from willing countries assembled in a rag-tag way. This would be the creation of an international capacity to ensure that terror enclaves are not the targets of self-interested unilateral parties, but of the preponderance of civilized nations, aghast at the prospect of possible nuclear blackmail. The need for this is palpable. The failure to create such an entity will drive nails into our effort, making each unilateral move we make a step into the quagmire resulting from the failure to give legs to a consensus that surely does exist, but equally surely does not have any concrete manifestation.
Pakistan has consistently lied about its actual role in making the world less and less safe because of nuclear criminality and less than assured nuclear security. When that fact is digested, the only option becomes preparing for the worst. The worst would be a meltdown sooner than later, an anarchic situation in which no power was in place that could actually ensure a measure of safety from renegade actions by the Taliban. The very worst case could be a sort of nuclear blackmail situation created with the advent of credible evidence that the Taliban and other terror groups were in possession of weapons of mass destruction.
Hit the containment and Kennan and Pakistan labels above for more on all this.