Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Friend In Deed?

According to published reports Pakistani nuclear scientists have been shopping around advanced nuclear technology to the highest bidders. Advanced blueprints have been found on computers that belonged to these scientists that were part of a nuclear smuggling network headed by Abdul Qadeer Khan. Our government has a knack of creating these madmen through a deliberate policy of benign neglect and a policy of supporting tyranny for the sake of political expediency. This is another example of how our unwillingness to gauge the world realistically and our inability to access friends and foes has created a possible nightmare scenario in the near future.

The plans appear to closely resemble a nuclear weapon that was built by Pakistan and first tested exactly a decade ago. But when confronted with the design by officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency last year, Pakistani officials insisted that Dr. Khan, who has been lobbying in recent months to be released from the loose house arrest that he has been under since 2004, did not have access to Pakistan’s weapons designs.

So instead of confronting our so-called friends who are proliferating nuclear technology, we are allowing political and philosophical agendas to dictate our foreign policy. Can anyone say Saudi Arabia? So, lets see what our billions of dollars of public foreign aid has bought us. Pakistan has more instability than ever, they have been an indifferent ally in tracking Islamic extremists in their tribal regions, and we have known for a long time their involvement in the proliferation of nuclear technology. What bothers me the most is how many times this same scenario has been played out over the course of our nations history. It’s like for the last 30 years we have been executing the same whack foreign policy in country after country with the same disastrous results. Cuba, Panama, Iran, Argentina, Philippines, Haiti, and so on and so on.

Since 9/11, the United States has given over $10 billion in aid to Pakistan. The bulk of that amount—more than $6 billion—has come in the form of “Coalition Support Funds,” which are intended to reimburse U.S. allies for their assistance in the “war on terrorism.” Fifteen percent of the total aid has gone toward security assistance, which Pakistan has used primarily to purchase major weapons systems, while another 15 percent has gone toward budget support, which represents direct cash transfers to the Pakistani government.

The time has come for us as a nation to destroy whatever document has been used to craft our foreign policy, because it has not worked. We are no safer as a nation, the countries have no more stability, and the world is no safer of a place. These Presidential doctrines have instead of fostering peace, democracy and world development have had the complete opposite effect. The only beneficiaries from these policies have been the arms manufacturers, war profiteers, and political cronies.

I wonder after reading these reports what the wing-nuts who were up in arms about Senator Obama’s statement about going into Pakistan after terrorists now have to say? We don’t treat our friends this way they exclaimed, well we now see how our friends treat us. The Pakistanis are understandably apprehensive about going after Khan who is considered a national hero by the people of Pakistan and the father of their nuclear development. The government of Pakistan has never really exerted a lot of pressure on Khan to disclose the degree of proliferation of his network. As these reports demonstrate while the Pakistanis may consider the episode closed the rest of the world will be dealing with the fall-out for years to come.

However, in recent days top American intelligence officials, who declined to speak about the discovery on the record because the information is classified, said that they had been unable to determine whether Iran or other countries had obtained the weapons design. Pakistan has refused to allow American investigators to directly interview Dr. Khan, who is considered a hero there as the father of its nuclear program. In recent weeks the only communications about him between the United States and Pakistan’s new government have been warnings from Washington not to allow him to be released.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/world/asia/15nuke.html?hp
[2] http://www.fpa.org/topics_info2414/topics_info_show.htm?doc_id=592512
[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/world/asia/15nuke.html?hp

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