How Safe Are Pakistan’s Nukes?
“[I]f Pakistan collapses, the U.S. military is primed to enter the country and secure as many of those weapons as it can, according to U.S. officials,” report’s TIME’s Mark Thompson burying his lede three paragraphs into a story whose headline asks, “Does Pakistan’s Taliban Surge Raise a Nuclear Threat?”
As I explain in my New Atlanticist piece “U.S. Prepared to Secure Pakistani Nukes,” the answer is a qualified No. Still, the fact that we’re even asking — and that our military is even considering the remote possibility of needing to do something about it — isn’t comforting.
This would potentially be one of the benefits to working with India as well as I mentioned in my ACUS post: Pakistan Solution Begins in India.
Realistically, the only hope of getting more transparency on Pakistani nukes and establishing an emergency transition plan would be to get India to sign on to a similar safeguards agreement… though of course to do that, you might need some some of China buy in, and then heck, you are in the market for a global arms control approach.
But anyway, I think that the only hope of getting some confidence about what happens to Pakistani nukes is to negotiate it as part of an agreement that requires reciprocity on the part of the Indians.
This alarms the Pakistanis, by the way. They’re highly suspicious that if things really go to shit, the US will fly in, seize the nukes, and abandon Pakistan to its fate.