Dr. Roshan Writes: The recent news regarding Washington’s concern over Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programme is amusing to say the least. How many times in the past have they stated the obvious, but it seems that Pakistanis exactly know how to placate the Americans. So much so that this year, the American intelligentsia published a policy paper describing how Pakistanis can become a Normal Nuclear State. What was the response, the Pakistanis in no uncertain terms declared that they are not ready to compromise anything as far as their nuclear programme was concerned and what was the American response to this, they sanctioned the F-16s to them. What do we make of this? Is it only a gimmick adopted by some to pacifying the queries raised by the US House Foreign Affairs Committee? As was see when Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson told lawmakers during a hearing on Pakistan convened by House Foreign Affairs Committee commented that “I wanted to say that we do share your concerns, particularly about the development of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. We’re concerned most by the pace and the scope of the Pakistan’s missile program, including its pursuit of nuclear systems.” He rightfully stated that “US has to get tougher with Pakistan. We have to call them out on this double game they have been playing, not this year, not last year, not five years but for the past 15 years”. This fact is known by one and all in the US power circles but the debate should be how US is going to use its leverage (if it has any) to solve the problem.
They are also concerned about nuclear terrorism and Higgins again rightly put it that “”Pakistan a big country, about 180 million people, it has a lot of Islamic extremists, and it has nuclear weapons. And to have Islamic extremists with nuclear weapons is a primary goal of al-Qaeda and it would be major victory for them and the outgrowth of al-Qaeda, the Islamic state and a major defeat for us, the US,”. The Americans always say the right things and we must applaud them for that; it’s only the practicality that gets distorted. For example when Pakistan’s AQ Khan nuclear proliferation scandal came out, the response was muted and it seemed that they had put on blinkers. So the question which the Americans need to ask themselves is whether they really want to tackle the issue? Pakistan’s every nuclear step has been monitored by the Americans and in that sense one can say that if Pakistan is trying to lower the nuclear threshold through deployment of tactical nuclear weapons then the logical deduction would be that either the Pakistanis have the backing of the Americans or the Americans do not have the leverage to control them any longer. It has often been stated that this is in retaliation to India’s Cold Start Doctrine? This fact is a misnomer and highly overrated, if the countries have hostile borders then they will try to remove the strategic gaps through a process of course correction via infrastructural development or through re organisation and redeployment of forces. Even China has done the same as far as Tibet is concerned, but India does not say that we should deploy Tactical Nuclear weapons there. The fact is Pakistan is unable or ignores the dangers of nuclear terrorism and Pakistan’s allies have to understand, that a nuclear bomb in a terrorist hand, is not going to differentiate between friends and enemies, because the terrorists are driven by ideology and all nations have fault lines which these non-state actors can exploit. So that brings us to the basic question, are we united in dealing with nations who harbour terrorism? I would like to have your response on this issue; you can either log in to the USI blog or email me at [email protected]