Sunday, September 24, 2006

Why Pakistan Gets A Nuclear Pass

The following is from an article from InTheseTimes called "Why Pakistan Gets A Nuclear Pass":
"(Bush's) criteria for membership in this club (axis of evil) of rogue states were clear: a dictatorship that possessed or aimed to acquire weapons of mass destruction with documented ties to Islamic terrorist groups. What Bush didn’t mention was that he had already entered into a marriage of expedience with Pakistan, the one regime that fully met each of the three requirements (although he did profess his admiration for “the strong leadership of President Musharraf.”)

Pakistan bears a striking resemblance to Iran, which Bush has described as a country held hostage by an “elite that is isolating and repressing its people, and denying them basic liberties and human rights.” Like Iran, Pakistan is a regime that, in Bush’s words, “sponsors terrorists and is actively working to expand its influence in its [neighboring] region.” But unlike Iran, this sponsor of Islamic radicalism is already a bona fide nuclear power that has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. What’s more, Pakistan has shared its nuclear technology with almost every country on the administration’s sworn enemies list: Libya, North Korea, and, yes, Iran.

Before its hasty switch of allegiances in the wake of 9/11, Musharraf’s military dictatorship had been one of the Taliban regime’s closest allies, and many top-ranking members of the Pakistani Army and the all-powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had close, long-standing connections to al-Qaeda, dating back to the heydays of the anti-Soviet mujaheddin resistance. In fact, al-Qaeda was founded at a 1988 meeting in Peshawar, Pakistan. As a former diplomat told Seymour Hersh in the November 5, 2001, New Yorker, “If you go through the officer list, almost all of the I.S.I. regulars would say, of the Taliban, ‘They are my boys.’ “

But the Bush administration needed Pakistan’s assistance to wage the war against Afghanistan, a country it knew practically nothing about. The result: a 180-degree reversal in U.S. policy, which in 1998, following Pakistan’s nuclear test, had included economic sanctions and the withdrawal of aid. “The U.S.-Pakistan relationship was fundamentally transformed within a very short period of time under a large amount of pressure after September 11,” says Council for Foreign Relations analyst Michael Levi.


While the Bush White House’s Pakistan policy is undoubtedly flawed, it is also strikingly out of character. An administration best known for its ideological rigidity has been surprisingly pragmatic and subtle in its dealings with Islamabad. The same George W. Bush who is unable to differentiate between Hamas or Hezbollah in the Middle East has been willing in Pakistan to narrowly define terrorism to exclude groups who do not directly threaten U.S. interests—even though many of them have close links to al-Qaeda.


This policy tells us that the administration is willing to use the kind of diplomatic engagement it pretends to disdain to further its goals, which—as U.S. concerns about India and China suggest—are not limited to battling terrorism. What’s more, it suggests that the reasons for the Bush administration’s military adventurism in the Middle East have little to do with a morally righteous crusade against Islamic terrorists.


Control over the Middle East in turn requires eliminating any regime hostile to the United States and its closest ally, Israel. Iran is the enemy not because it is led by Islamist supporters of terrorism with plans to develop a nuclear bomb, but because it is a significant regional power opposed to the Bush administration’s plan to “restructure” the Middle East to suit its global ambitions. In contrast, not only has Pakistan allied itself entirely with the Bush administration’s war on terror, but Musharraf is now moving toward reinstating diplomatic ties with Israel.

The Bush double standard reveals a foreign policy that is less ideological than imperial. In this, the administration is different from its predecessors only by degrees of its ambition and ruthlessness.

a great article, read the rest if these matters are of interest to you.

Of course, Sibel's take on this is probably a little bit different from the thesis offered here.

According to KTM, both Israel and Turkey helped (to varying degrees) Pakistan get the nuclear bomb from the very first days, and people like Richard Perle and Douglas Feith (and others) appear to have been instrumental in AQ Khan's proliferation network - supplying Libya, North Korea and Iran.

Further, these same people have also supplied India with the requisite components to compete in the arms race. In other words, as long as someone wants to buy weapons, the neocons are happy to sell. The more the merrier. If you happen to get in the way of this lucrative business like Valerie Plame, Sibel Edmonds, or Richard Barlow (and probably many others) then you'll be silenced, or worse.

To make matters worse, when they impose arms embargoes, such as the embargo on Pakistan, they create an opportunity to make even more money - because a) they can charge even higher prices to deliver the product illegally, and b) when the embargo is lifted, the embargoed country has to play catch-up and spend even more money on buying military equipment.

Oh, and for good measure, it appears that they also place spies/moles in the FBI and nuclear labs and visa-giving-embassies and so on to lubricate the system. Money makes the world go round, and illegal weapons sales has a nice profit margin - as high as drug trafficking. Nice work, if you can get it. If you can sleep at night.


«—U®Anu§—» said...

Foreign relations has become so needlessly complicated, maybe it should be handled by idiots only. And I like to remind people the Today program stated one morning the U.S. has provided Pakistan with cruise missiles and support systems--although I haven't found other news reports confirming that. Hey, if I were Pakistan, I'd be America's bitch, too.

Don said...

“The U.S.-Pakistan relationship was fundamentally transformed within a very short period of time under a large amount of pressure after September 11,” says Council for Foreign Relations analyst Michael Levi.

Which of course begs the question of from whence the pressure came. While some no doubt came from the neocon "take the Gulf" faction (in support of Afghan operations), another source was likely the ever present MIC. Prior to the imposition of sanctions, the US had been supplying military aid to Pakistan, including LockMart F-16s. With the sanctions, that aid was cut, with some of the paid-for fighters being held in the US (later sold to other 'customers'), eventually resulting in some of the arrangements Pakistan has entered into with China for air defence. With the Pakistani return to 'good doobie' status, a market is re-opened for the dealers of death and destruction.

That said, anyone who thought the COPE India military exercises earlier this year were only to solidify Indian relations or develop a SE Asian partner against China has been ignorant of 60 years of Indian/Pakistani history. It's been suggested that the neocons and extreme right are ignorant of the subtle dynamics of Middle Eastern relations. Personally, I don't think they're that stupid; if it doesn't fit their plans, they just don't give a fuck.

lukery said...

don: "if it doesn't fit their plans, they just don't give a fuck"
there's a symetric beauty for the MIC trying to keep 'balance' - they can sell weapons to both Pakistan and India. Sibel's case shows that they were playing both sides of that particular game.

the only 'color' in the game is that when there are export controls, they can charge higher prices for delivering stuff illegally.

ewastud said...

Perhaps this is tangential to the discussion here. However, I recall rading in a book by authors Beaty and Gwynne about the BCCI scandal that apparently one of the main objectives of the Pakistani founder of BCCI was to make Pakistan a nuclear power. BCCI was a corrupt bank which had involvement in many murderous intrigues and geopolitical plots. This included Iran-Contra, and possibly the S & L debacle of the 1980's. There was evidence of ties to the Bushes, of course, and allegations made by a fellow named William White of Texas who got mixed up in an oil business deal with James Bath, and has suffered a vendetta of lawsuits ever since.

lukery said...

thnx ewastud - i havent really got my head around bcci - but, yes, i suspect/presume that there's a strong connection to bcci - if starroute turns up here, she'll be able to fill you in on the details, i presume (she knows everything)

i've never heard of William White - thnx for that. another piece of the puzzle.