Wednesday, May 24, 2006

K Sub on Pakistani Nuclear Blackmail of the US

The article by K Subrahmanyam is likely to ruffle a few feathers. Some people believe public diplomacy and strategic communication plans that rely heavily on projecting an image of invincibility or at the very least of not being scared of anything. This sort of thinking is on ample display in the posts by one Dnirody on the Bharat-Rakshak forum. Dear Dnirody - it really helps to know what you are talking about ... before you actually open your mouth.

No amount of spin doctoring can alter the following facts:

1) There is no way for the target country to locate a nuclear device once it has been placed into a major population center.

2) The only ones who know precisely where such a device has been placed or where such a device might be placed are the nation state that ordered the placement of the device.

3) The operation to render-safe such a device is fraught with risk. A situation like this is completely unlike a "broken arrow" scenario.

4) Deterence does not work against an adversary that does not work against an irrational actor.
The only way to deal with such a situation is keep the adversary engaged in an apparently benificial relationship and in doing so create the rationality needed to make a deterrence scheme effective.

It is not such a big deal that Pakistan is blackmailing another country, but that in allowing itself to be blackmailed by Pakistan, the country is creating the core of a desire to live that is essential to make deterrence effective vis-a-vis Pakistan.

Such a strategy requires patience - and feckless idiots like Dnirody are unlikely to ever appreciate the value of patience.

An old friend of mine once wrote a wonderful article, a masterpiece on the nature of Indian strategic thought called the Monkey Trap. This is in essence what is at play with regards to Pakistan at all levels.

The Pakistanis want to believe that they are the inheritors of the legacy of the Prophet. Their leaders are willing to justify the use of nuclear weapons as part of an attempt to make this fantasy a reality. By deliberately pandering to their corrupt elites' desire for wealth and stature, you create a comfort zone around the elite - and this creates the foundation of a deterrence scheme. The message of the deterrence scheme is simple, follow the rules of deterrence or the comfort zone will evaporate.

KS is correct the US (like India before it) has succumbed to Pakistani blackmail. And like India - the US is attempting to set up a comfort zone around Pakistan's elite that will given them the ability to make a viable deterrence scheme.

Without cooperation and discussion with India - there is no way in which the US can build any comfort zone around the Pakistani elite. Team Bush or even Team Cheney or even Team Rumsfeld, ultimately you have to come to us - because you see - without India - there is no Pakistan.

Dnirody in his infinite wisdom brings up this point:

The article totally overlooks what ought to be a natural reflex, that Washington no doubt is hatching contingency plans if an INDIAN nuke goes missing or indeed what to do should at some point New Delhi join the ranks of The Threat. It is worth noting that these days this may be as simple as not voting with the US on, say, the IAEA or at the UN or coyly escaping the enveloping, choking, embrace of the Pentagon. Further, the attitude of New Delhi to the US today has absolutely no bearing on the formulation of contingencies, perhaps someone ought to focus some attention on that.

Well ... perhaps our "erudite" friend Dnirody's dissociative fugue state makes him forget that US contingency plans on dealing with Indian nuclear weapons have existed for decades now. All throughout the Cold War - India was very much in the Pentagon's cross hairs. This is nothing new to us - we are quite used to the idea of having our nuclear installations attacked. Apart from the Pakistanis - we don't have a treaty specifically forbidding such an attack with anyone else.

The US will not actualize a contingency plan to attack Indian nuclear installations simply because India resists the amorous advances of the Pentagon or does not support the IAEA. This is Dnirody's lack of understanding, there are a host of other reasons why the US will activate the contingency plans, but politeness demands that I not discuss those things.

The actual US contingency plan vis-a-vis Pakistani nuclear weapons probably make the Pakistanis laugh till they turn blue. I couldn't possibly comment on the success probabilities of any US strike plans against Indian nuclear installations.

And lastly, despite Dnirody's wet dreams - General Beg is not a voice to be easily ignored.


At 10:25 PM, Blogger mukunda said...

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