Buying out the Pakistani nukes

…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.


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8 Responses to Buying out the Pakistani nukes

  1. realistic December 16, 2008 at 4:56 pm #

    Pakistan can never be coerced to submission on this. They will never let go of the opportunity which is their glee and India’s predicament.
    Yes only US can do it, only if they are willing to go the whole hog. This is where Obama becomes critical. India needs to shed its inhibition in alligning strategically with the US if they have to be goaded to act on this idea.

  2. Hiker December 16, 2008 at 6:41 pm #

    Let us say this becomes a reality. Then US buys Paki nukes and Pakis get 100B USD out of which $10B will go to Zardari and $90B will be used to buy nukes from China! Back to square one.

  3. Frankly_ December 16, 2008 at 8:53 pm #

    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.

    How much? Can we have a ballpark figure? Oh, please…

  4. bhishma December 16, 2008 at 9:23 pm #

    Such drastic but pragmatic moves can happen in America only when either
    a) Until cold war era ‘Old leaders of America’ retire and let the next generation in, who would likely think correctly about the what Pakistan and its existence is all about
    b) America gets a stronger taste of terrorism (like a crude nuke/chemical attack) emanating from its
    “Most favoured non-nato ALLY” and cold war BUDDY Pakistan.

    That is if the new admistration is willing to shun its ‘all weather ally’ and not kneel down. America has shown to countries like Iran that if they are a mediocre rogue like Iraq, they could be destroyed but if they achieve the status of unconditional and powerful nuke armed rogue like Pakistan, they might actually reap billions of dollars from USA besides other goodies like becoming ‘non- nato ally’ etc. USA set a very bad precedent in this regard. Poor judgement by American govt? May be.

  5. Maneesh Joshi December 25, 2008 at 9:40 pm #

    Yeah, this Bret Stephens is something like that Saikia guy of Outlook who writes differently just to seem different (read erudite). Does he have a gnat’s arse of an idea about the Paki way of thinking? I don’t think so, what with his, (shucks, to call it ridiculous is to give the clot credulity) vacuous concept. Kiyani and crowd mus t have some pretty colourful lingo for daer Bret the new Bush.

  6. damn! January 5, 2009 at 2:50 pm #

    lol f***ng dreamers 80 nukes would cost more than 100 billion dollars plus who will pay for the future damages by many terrorists in Pakistan funded by US/RUSSIA/INDIA/NATO. Whether Pakistan give US control of its nukes and everything and gets 100 billion dollars even still US will destroy Pakistan. US wants Access to China to destroy it so they will have to take over Pakistan to do all the dirty jobs through terrorists inside Pakistan before declaring Pakistan as the safe havens for terrorists and occupying the country and later on fingering China once and for all. There is not a single chance Pakistan will ever give up its nukes not even for a trillion dollars. Dream on kids there is a morning after ever night:)

  7. damn! January 5, 2009 at 2:59 pm #

    hiker lol i agree with you even if Pakistan gets 100 billion dollars Pakistan can buy 100 nukes for 50 billion dollars note that>>from china without setting up any nuclear power plants..also US might agree on giving Pakistan many hi-tech conventional weapons and Jets overall worth 25 billion dollars as well as waive all debt of Pakistan and press NATO to waive it. Now a nation called Pakistan with 100 billion dollars no debt no obligations and with atleast 20-25 billion dollars of hi-tech conventional weapons bring everything back to square one that is A repurchase of nuclear weapons ready-made even 80 weapons ensure Pakistan’s total immunity from India. :)


  1. And how much are these nukes? | The Acorn - December 16, 2008

    [...] Like many thoughtful people, Bret Stephens zeroes in on the central problem—Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal protects jihadi terrorists, besides running the country down in various ways. He deserves appreciation for attempting to think up an innovative solution to it. (via Pragmatic Euphony) [...]

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