Thursday, February 23, 2006

Non-Proliferation Nonsense

It is a held notion in the non-proliferation community in the US that somehow the current state of stability in the world has something to do with their belief structure and the ideals of non-proliferation. The non-proliferation community does not see the disconnect between their ideological constructs and the underlying realities of the global political economy.

The average non-proliferation mullah sees himself in a larger than life way. He sees himself as an architect of global order - as someone defining the morality these troubled times. This is an exaggerated self image that preoccupies their thinking.

The non-proliferation mullah does not have capital resources to enforce his vision, infact all non-proliferation talking-heads get their paychecks from grants made by private foundations that have a long history of providing all manner of support to US capital management groups or to members of the USIC.

To a very large extent the non-proliferation mullah relies on the media to disseminate his viewpoint. However it is important to note that this too is is rented space as the media itself is owned by the very same American capital management groups. The non-proliferation mullah is only allowed as much time on the pulpit as he is willing to toe that particular capital management group's line. A miscommunication of the media owners' intentions by the non-proliferation mullah results in his media access being cut.

In the non-proliferation ideological sphere there are only generalizations of specific problems. There is no room for details and specific information about say... India's security concerns.

For example, a non-proliferation `expert' will tell you that the India-US nuclear deal is "bad" because then "Pakistan will worry that India's nuclear arsenal will grow and then they will invest money in expanding their own arsenal to keep apace with India." Fact is that given India's growing economic stature, Pakistan has to increase its arsenal to pose a credible threat of unacceptable damage to India. If Pakistan cannot expand its arsenal and deliver weapons to a larger number of targets i.e. Indian cities - then their deterrence scheme is no longer credible and even the slightest escalation sequence will result in their bluff being called. Pakistan does not need "India's expanding arsenal" as a reason to increase the size of its stockpile. Another thing that one must bear in mind when talking about Pakistan - is that the Pakistani Army retains international support by ensuring that the apprehensions of proliferation remain high. As long as proliferation concerns remain high - the Pakistani Army can market itself as being the only agency capable of keeping the risks managed. A larger stockpile of weapons grade fissile material directly suggests a larger proliferation threat. This second factor is perhaps a far bigger incentive for the Pakistanis to increase the size of their stockpile.

The Pakistanis - one is told - have signed a deal for 20 something nuclear reactors with China. I really want this deal to come through - though I do wonder how Pakistan is going to pay for those reactors. Even if the US gives them a loan - which I am sure Exim Bank will be happy to underwrite given Pakistan's "Non-Nato Ally" status, I still don't see how the Pakistanis will ever repay that loan. The economy of Pakistan is stagnant. It will only be a matter of time before the Pakistanis default or ask for a timeout.

If there was democracy in Pakistan, then the people would be able to tell their government that they need water. I suppose that under the right leadership, if the reactors are placed on the shore of Karachi and Baluchistan, then quite possibly the lower-riparian provinces will be able to desalinate seawater, thus eliminating their dependence on the Indus. Ofcourse as there is no democracy in Pakistan, the Pakistanis will have to quench their thirst with empty promises about the Kalabagh Dam instead and Pakistani children will be brought up on a healthy diet of musharraf jokes alone.

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