December 16, 2008ChinadeterrenceForeign Affairsnuclearnuclear weaponsPakistanproliferationSecurityUnited States

And how much are these nukes?

If your goose lays golden eggs, you’ll want to keep it

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Like many thoughtful people, Bret Stephens zeroes in on the central problem—Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal protects jihadi terrorists, besides running the country down in various ways. He deserves appreciation for attempting to think up an innovative solution to it. (via Pragmatic Euphony)

Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that Pakistan will give up its nuclear arsenal and capability for US$100 billion and an American nuclear umbrella. Forget US$100 billion, it’s unlikely to trade-in its nukes for any price that the world is prepared to pay. Why?

Because it can get the same money by keeping the nuclear weapons—by playing up the risk of these weapons falling into the hands of rogues and terrorists in case of widespread turmoil. So why sell the goose that lays the golden eggs? And we are not even talking about whether the ordinary and the elite would accede to a trade-in deal.

As for placing Pakistan under the American nuclear umbrella—it makes a good soundbite, but is not credible. Is the United States prepared to use nuclear weapons on Pakistan’s behalf should India launch a punitive strike against Pakistan’s jihadi training camps in retaliation to a major terrorist attack? If you are a Pakistani leader—civilian or military—you won’t count on this. Besides, your all-weather friends in Beijing are unlikely to be favourably disposed to it either.

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