…is one way of denuclearising Pakistan.
This blogger had ended one of the earlier posts with a question to ponder over.
Denuclearising Pakistan would be, perhaps, a good idea to begin with. But how?
Bret Stephens, writing in the Wall Street Journal, comes up with a possible answer.
President Asif Ali Zardari was recently in the U.S. asking for $100 billion to stave off economic collapse. So far, the international community has ponied up about $15 billion. That puts Mr. Zardari $85 billion shy of his fund-raising target. Meantime, the average Taliban foot soldier brings home monthly wages that are 30% higher than uniformed Pakistani security personnel.
Preventing the disintegration of Pakistan, perhaps in the wake of a war with India (how much restraint will New Delhi show after the next Mumbai-style atrocity?), will be the Obama administration’s most urgent foreign-policy challenge. Since Mr. Obama has already committed a trillion or so in new domestic spending, what’s $100 billion in the cause of saving the world?
This is the deal I have in mind. The government of Pakistan would verifiably eliminate its entire nuclear stockpile and the industrial base that sustains it. In exchange, the U.S. and other Western donors would agree to a $100 billion economic package, administered by an independent authority and disbursed over 10 years, on condition that Pakistan remain a democratic and secular state (no military rulers; no Sharia law). It would supplement that package with military aid similar to what the U.S. provides Israel: F-35 fighters, M-1 tanks, Apache helicopters. The U.S. would also extend its nuclear umbrella to Pakistan, just as Hillary Clinton now proposes to do for Israel.
A pipe dream? Not necessarily. People forget that the world has subtracted more nuclear powers over the past two decades than it has added: Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine and South Africa all voluntarily relinquished their stockpiles in the 1990s. Libya did away with its program in 2003 when Moammar Gadhafi concluded that a bomb would be a net liability, and that he had more to gain by coming to terms with the West.
There’s no compelling reason Mr. Zardari and his military brass shouldn’t reach the same conclusion, assuming excellent terms and desperate circumstances. Sure, a large segment of Pakistanis will never agree. Others, who have subsisted on a diet of leaves and grass so Pakistan could have its bomb, might take a more pragmatic view.
The tragedy of Pakistan is that it remains a country that can’t do the basics, like make a bicycle chain. If what its leaders want is prestige, prosperity and lasting security, they could start by creating an economy that can make one — while unlearning how to make the bomb.
The US Congress authorised Report of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism has a Chapter titled “Pakistan: The Intersection of Nuclear Weapons and Terrorism“. It goes on to say that–
Were one to map terrorism and weapons of mass destruction today, all roads would intersect in Pakistan. It has nuclear weapons and a history of unstable governments, and parts of its territory are currently a safe haven for al Qaeda and other terrorists.
[This]Commission has singled out Pakistan for special attention in this report, as we believe it poses a serious challenge to America’s short-term and medium-term national security interests. …In terms of the nexus of proliferation and terrorism, Pakistan must top the list of priorities for the next President and Congress.
If that be true, then what is a few billion dollars for the US to neutralise this grave threat emanating from Pakistan. Obama must endavour to make the world a safer place.
And yes, Indians certainly won’t mind. Maybe, they would even pitch in with a contribution of their own to meet any shorfalls in the US largesse.