Thursday, December 07, 2006

Entering the Twilight Zone

I have been staring at every major news channel and electronic media resources I can find from Pakistan and I see absolutely nothing.

None of Musharraf's mouthpieces are saying a word about the PADE test. No other voices in Pakistan are saying a word either. It is an eerie silence that is not ending. The only thing one hears are rumours of negotiations with the PPP for Benazir's return to power. One does not know what to make of that. It is unlikely that Benazir will take the bait. Neither can one tell what is implied by the concilatory tone in the recent Kashmir proposals. Can one take that seriously? no one can say? We can reciprocate conciliatory tones with conciliatory tones, but can we be serious if we do not know if the other party is serious?

My friends suggest that perhaps Musharraf is desperately bargaining with the Americans and the Chinese to see some sort of face saving formula appear that will give Pakistan the public posture it needs to show that India has not completely kicked it out of the fray. My friends think that perhaps either China or America or both will eventually step in to save Musharraf after extracting some major concession from him in this time of his need.

I wonder if this is going to happen. Am I wrong to think that if there was any chance this was going to happen at all, things would never have been allowed to slide to this level in the first place. Does this in someway indicate a desire in the US and China to explore the world that lies beyond Musharraf?

Less than a year ago, the Americans openly talked about dealing with a situation where President Musharraf has been removed from power. In that scenario President Bush's successor was in power, the implication here appeared to be that as long President Bush was in power, such a thing would not come to pass, i.e. no one in Pakistan could doubt Musharraf's claim to leadership.

But this is precisely what the PADE is questioning - Musharraf's overt claim that he can defend Pakistan with the push of a button.

Hu Jintao was recently in India making gestures of a very friendly nature. Was there a message to the Pakistanis in that behaviour?

The problem with going in to the post Musharraf world is that there is an immense twilight zone between Emperor Musharraf and the Kings to come after. There is no guarentee that once one enters this twilight zone, one will actually make it out.

I am reading straws in the wind, but I have this funny feeling that I can't shake, but I fear we are entering the twilight zone.

15 Comments:

At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Nitin said...

Maverick,

This article appeared in the Autumn 2006 issue of ISSI's journal.

I'm quoting the conclusion:


The idea of missile defences negates the very basis of deterrence. Deterrence works on the assumption that both sides remain vulnerable to nuclear attack and would, therefore, refrain from attacking the other side for fear of retaliation. If one adversary seeks to secure itself from attack through missile defences, the other side is bound to be left vulnerable and would try to pursue countermeasures to neutralise the defences. This scenario is also very much true in the context of India, Pakistan and China. Indian deployment of missile defences would affect Pakistan’s deterrence calculations to a large degree, and China’s to a lesser degree.



The introduction of missile defences in South Asia by India will not take place in a vacuum. China and Pakistan will respond and reassess their minimum nuclear deterrence requirements. Pursuit of missile defences is only going to give rise to an unnecessary and expensive arms race. In an already conflict prone region, missile defences are only going to bring more insecurity and instability, not only for Pakistan and China, but also for India itself.



Pakistan and China need to make a concerted diplomatic effort to prevent India from acquiring the missile defence systems. Failing this, both China and Pakistan need to calculate the minimum qualitative and quantitative requirements in order to restore the credibility of their nuclear deterrents. Islamabad and Beijing must not fall prey to an unchecked arms race of the type that ensued between the US and Soviet Union during the Cold War and led to the eventual collapse of the latter. Elements within India itself need to realise that pursuit of missile defences would be a costly affair, for systems with no proven capability of providing credible defence against ballistic missiles. Once the existing deterrence equations are disturbed, the possible outcomes cannot be entirely foreseen, or controlled, with possibly disastrous consequences for the region.

 
At 10:29 PM, Anonymous chacko said...

Aren't the pukis getting anti ballastic defence from Chincom? Or Chinese failed steal such technology?

 
At 8:53 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Nitin,

They have been writing about it as long as we have been talking about it.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Where is their counter to this?

Chacko,

Yes okay they can get HQ-9s but where is it?

It takes all of one day to fly the thing in from China. Its been well over a week.

It is not like we made a secret of our desire to test an anti-missile shield. What were they doing for so long?

Why weren't the Chinese missiles in Pakistan on the day before our PADE test?

If the Chinese missiles are so good why doesn't Pakistan test them?

What is the point of deterrence technology that no one knows about?

This is charge that is going to be laid at Musharraf's door.

Musharraf was too preoccupied with his American obsessions to pay attention to India's ABM development and in doing so he forefeited Pakistan's first use option.

This is a serious charge against Musharraf. Compromising the security of Pakistan's nuclear option in such a fundamental way will not go unnoticed.

 
At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HQ-9 transferred to Pakistan as face saver.

http://missilethreat.com/systems/hq-9_china.html

This was posted on disreputable forum.

Now Pakistan = India. They have shield of Mohammad aka PRC against Indian infidel.

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

Yes, they have been making claims about all kind of things.

These so called missile transfers are utterly imaginary unless they show an actual intercept.

They have been conducting Hatf tests quite frequently now.

I imagine that this is all in preparation for a show case test of the HQ-9 system.

Even if they show how they too have an ABM system it doesn't really matter to us, because we are not planning on nuking them anytime soon. They are the ones stuck with the perpetual aggression disorder, we are fine if the get ABM.

 
At 9:31 PM, Anonymous chacko said...

Nitin,

Cheap copy called HQ-9 of S-300P is not same class as PAC-3 or Arrow. PADE is.

 
At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maverick,

Why did the Americans seemingly invest so much into one single man in Pakistan? Their entire Pakistan policy seems to start and end with Musharaff.

With that sort of reliance they are either asking to be black-mailed on a regular basis or risking all their work going up in smoke should something happen to Musharaff. I thought the Americans were smarter than this.

P.S. - I wanted to say something regarding your Humshakal. Could I send an email to your breadomelette account?

 
At 4:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real problem is the Babur. Low flying cruise missiles are a PITA for any AD system, and the MOD babus have been dragging their feet on India upgrades for too long. The need of the hour is to launch a massive crash program for bistatic radars. But what talk of that when LLTRs and medium power radar deals are still to be decided!

 
At 9:00 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Anonymous,

I think they are convinced that Musharraf is the only one their information models can accurately predict beyond that they do not yet have the level of information and leverage to make others predictable. That is why there is so much investment.

I think it is an investment that has yeilded good returns, Musharraf has given America more than Allah has given Pakistan. The blackmail has worked well for both the parties.

I don't know how much I can tell you about the humshakal, after all he is my humshakal, but please feel free to email me.

Anonymous,

We can depend on a foreign radar system to do our ABM targetting or incoming cruise missile detection.

Imported arms and deterrence do not go together.

 
At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi maverick,
kindly reply to my email howsoever controversial it may be.kindly atleast send me my previous email so that idea can further refined.

 
At 3:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can depend on a foreign radar system to do our ABM targetting or incoming cruise missile detection.

Then ask govt of india to sanction a 400 Million$ radar development effort. Otherwise, import. No other way.

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Anonymous,

I think I have replied to all the emails I have recieved. Sorry about the delay.

Hi Anonymous,

Yes, I know about the 400 million dollar problem.

 
At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi mavericks,
thanks for the excellent debate.There are so many issues,only when when we go in depth that we realize that they are far critical issues at hand.
any can someone expand the 400million$ problem

 
At 6:59 AM, Blogger Prasanth said...

I was reading in the news the other day about Mush "re-assuring" people that Pakistan is a nuclear/missile state and have tested their missiles for "accuracy" and was wondering what brought that on. Now i know :)

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hello Anonymous,

Now is not the time to talk about the $400 Million problem. Maybe a few years from now there can be some discussion about it.

Hello Prasanth,

Miyan Musharraf is in for a very rough time. He is a fine person, but sometimes he gets too carried away with Commandogiri. I am waiting for Sanjay Dutt to make a movie about him.

 

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