The Problem with Pakistan

While Homeland Security frets about “right-wing extremists” and CNN expresses horror at comparisons between Obama and Hitler, real problems are threatening our security at an alarming rate.  Caroline Glick talks about the imminent collapse of Pakistan.  Think for a moment about what it will mean to have nuclear weapons under the control of the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

One of the few convictions that still unifies national security strategists across the ideological spectrum is that it would be a global calamity of the first order if al-Qaida gets its hands on nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, due to the rapid demise of nuclear-armed Pakistan as a coherent political unit, this nightmare scenario is looking more possible than ever. Indeed, if events continue to move in their current direction, it is more likely than not that in the near future, the Taliban and al-Qaida will take possession of all or parts of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal….

Given the failure of the US’s political strategies of securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal by supporting Pakistan’s government, and fighting the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan, it is becoming apparent that the only sure way to prevent the Taliban/al-Qaida from taking control over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons is to take those weapons out of commission.

The US has two basic options for accomplishing this goal. It can send in forces to take control of Pakistan’s nuclear installations and remove its nuclear arsenal from the country. Or, it can destroy Pakistan’s nuclear installations. Both of these options – which are really variations of the same option – are extremely unattractive. It is far from clear that the US military has the capacity to take over Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and it also unclear what the ultimate effect of a military strike against its nuclear arsenal would be in terms of lives lost and areas rendered uninhabitable due to nuclear fallout.

As Glick notes, the problem with Pakistan parallels the problem with Iran.  Soon, two sets of extremists may have nuclear weapons.  The result will be devastating to the security of the free world.  The probability that the weapons will be used to attack Israel, the United States, U. S. bases, or targets in Europe is extremely high.  Even if they are not used, they will give extremists a tool for blackmailing all of the above.  They will encourage other nations of questionable intentions and stability (e.g., Saudi Arabia) to develop nuclear weapons to restore the balance of power.

Someone needs to start making some hard decisions.  “Gird your loins,” indeed.

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