Monday, August 01, 2016

The only way to win is - not to play the game

(With apologies to WarGames)

A lot of observers are slowly coming to grips with the fact that deterrence stability in South Asia is degrading. A few people actually understand what is the cause of this problem and fewer still recognize that democracy cannot survive in such a climate.

So I am offering a simple solution to the problem.

Pakistan signs the NPT as a non-nuclear weapons state. 

I know - the moment you hear that - you are going to say - "well that is what an Indian would want!!"

Yes - it is - but it is also something I think that a Pakistani should want (or what every sensible person would want.)

Here is why - If Pakistan signs the NPT as a non-nuclear weapons state, then

1) It can no longer be targeted by India's nuclear weapons as India adheres to non-use against non-nuclear weapons states. (The existential threat posed by India's nuclear weapons to Pakistan will ebb considerably as an effective de-targeting regime will kick into place.)

2) Absent a nuclear umbrella, the ardor of Jihadi irredentism in Pakistan will cool and the infiltration issue will drop out of the India-Pakistan equation. This will increase the likelihood of India and Pakistan reaching a negotiated and non-violent resolution of outstanding disputes. (Again perhaps it is the Indian in me - but it is only natural for India and Pakistan to have disputes - but it would be much easier to resolve these disputes if Pakistan didn't keep doing the whole balls-out-Jihad-crazy stuff).

3) Pakistan can use the deactivation of its nuclear weapons capability as leverage in a negotiation that results in

a) more high quality conventional weapons which restore the conventional balance in South Asia.
b) nuclear reactors for power production and desalination (something that will come handy when water from the Indus becomes scarce).
c) loans for major capital projects in land resource management. This will act as a financial cushion.
d) favorable trade and tariffs in Pakistani exports to certain countries.
e) A significant non-nuclear technology and science build-up package that directly pours money in Pakistani universities and educational institutions.

4) The resulting economic boom from an increase in foreign investment will allow Pakistan to bridge the economic gap that has built up between it and India. (Today Pakistan's Army is also the largest landlord in Pakistan. It has effectively broken the back of the feudal classes and an increasingly egalitarian "middle class" is taking hold in urban Pakistan. This middle class supports national institutions like the Army and if it so wanted - the Pakistan Army will be able to use the economic boost from such negotiations to ensure that it can up the rent on all its properties without much opposition.)

5) With Pakistan no longer posing a nuclear threat, it will be difficult for India to justify a huge expenditures on its on nuclear arsenal.

In my humble opinion - the benefits outweigh the costs (loss of face for certain people inside Pakistan, etc...).

In the past this was not a good option as Pakistan did not have enough nuclear technology with which to ballast the deactivation process negotiation, but now - it is in a better position and it is unlikely that things will get much better than this (negotiation wise).


At 6:27 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

rumors to the contrary about Saudi Arabia, Pakistan is the only country with a proven Muslim nuke bomb. Prestigious indeed for Pakistan. I just don't see them giving that up.

Signing the NPT thus has little value to the rest of the world, Meaning? .....the NPT probably won't be honored by Pakistan other than lip service and US monitoring of security measures that we persuaded them to accept as conditions for US military aid in pursuit of our intervention in Afghanistan.

US military aid to Pakistan was hard for me to stomach that but one measure was our saving grace.

and they paid us back by hiding Osama bin Laudin........the treacherous scum.......

At 8:45 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

The only reason to hold out is if they can get a better deal selling out at a later date.

Unless they demonstrate control over something like boosted fission or a high-fusion yield device, it is not worth the wait.

We have heard rumors they have a plutonium design but we don't know if they can actually make it.

We have heard rumors they are good friends with DPRK and that DPRK has demonstrated boosted-fission (allegedly) but we don't know if the DPRK guys have told their Pakistani friends anything useful.

Let us assume for the moment that the Pakistanis do make a more advanced device - say a plutonium core with a good bit of boosting. They will have to test it.

If they test it - the sanctions and all the negative stuff will kick in and then they will have to much more to satisfy the international community. This will set their negotiating position back by about a decade.

Now OTOH - if they offer to sign the NPT in exchange for some good stuff - and obviously any compliance will have to be verifiable - they will be in a much better position negotiation wise.

Again quite obviously a feudal political group would be unable to secure such a complex rearrangement inside Pakistan. The main mover will have to be the Army.

So I guess no one should be too surprised by what comes next.

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

interview with Prof John Mearshimer about Chinese defense posture and strategic thinking.

doesn't say anything about India but........considering that India just sent 100 tanks to the border I think we could extrapolate some valid comparisons. if you have the time I think it worth viewing......

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

........especially the fallacy that economic trade prevents war.......very thought provoking.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

also to your previous comment,,,,,,are you forecasting the Pak army taking over Pakistan?

At 6:16 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

Yes - I am.

If my estimate is correct - then India's expansion in nuclear weapons deployment sites has created a significant problem for Pakistan's nuclear deterrence.

A re-organization of Pakistan's nuclear posture is clearly needed. Unfortunately such a shift cannot come without a political rearrangement.

In terms of a shift the Pakistanis can

1) Showcase more advanced nuclear explosives (such as boosted fission or mainly-fusion devices) or

2) They can mate existing fission warheads to their missiles and keep the doors of the silos closed or

3) They can sign the NPT and begin a negotiated de-activation.

Either way we cut this - the military will need to have a bigger say in the way things are done.

And that only leads to one place.

At 6:17 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I agree trade does not prevent war - it merely contextualizes the violence. IMO all wars are essentially accompanied by a shift in the economy of peace and the economy of war.


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