We all like to snigger, shake our heads in amazement and furiously post blogs whenever a foreign newspaper publishes something ignorant about
When Bruce Riedel catches the hyperbole flu, laughter is not an option. He is a scholar at the Brookings Institute (which is still hilariously referred to as liberal) and has been a major architect of Barack Obama’s Afghanistan and Pakistan policy, chairing an interagency review of US tactics in the region that is condescendingly referred to as “Af-Pak.” His op-ed on
The main focus of his piece is nuclear weapons, that hobbyhorse of alarmists at every
He begins with a familiar trope:
The Pakistani army, backed by attack helicopters, is fighting intense gun battles in the Swat valley
60 milesoutside the capital of with Islamic extremists. Islamabad
Every know-nothing media outlet has used this 60-miles-from-Islamabad description to convey the impression that the capital has been besieged by the Taliban and it is only a matter of time before they took over the machinery of the state. That’s just not true. Even if the Taliban were suicidal enough to stage an armed assault on
The fighting has cast a spotlight on the shaky security of
’s growing nuclear arsenal—the fastest growing arsenal in the world. Pakistan
The fastest growing arsenal in the world aside is needless fear-mongering. If the Taliban control
Today the arsenal is under the control of its military leaders; it is well protected, concealed and dispersed.
Oh, so they are secure. No worries, then.
But if the country fell into the wrong hands—those of the militant Islamic jihadists and al Qaeda—so would the arsenal.
Let’s start worrying again. Let’s also define what you mean by the country falling into the wrong hands. Does it mean the Taliban extending their control to further areas of
The danger of
becoming a jihadist state is real. Just before her murder in December 2007, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto said she believed al Qaeda would be marching on Pakistan in two years. Islamabad
Benazir said a lot of things that she hoped the Americans were foolish enough to believe so that they would get her back to
Increasing calls to “secure” the country’s nuclear weapons by force are far from productive—in fact, it’s making serious work with
more difficult. Pakistan
Thanks for that. It’s the first sensible thing you’ve said.
Then there’s a lot of blather and arm-chair psychoanalysis of how and why
Every newspaper has run an op-ed about