Monday, May 16, 2011

Pakistan's nuclear race

I have cried "Wolf!" so many times about Pakistan that it's not worth saying any more. How many times can you say, "This is dangerous!" and still have anyone pay attention?

Thankfully, Andrew Bust of Newsweek has said it so well that it has to be interesting. Pakistan's nuclear activity is another terrifying reality -- besides what is known about its duplicitous participation in the activities of the Taliban/Al Qaeda:

At a moment of unprecedented misgiving between Washington and Islamabad, new evidence suggests that Pakistan’s nuclear program is barreling ahead at a furious clip.
Pakistan is aggressively accelerating construction at the Khushab nuclear site, about 140 miles south of Islamabad. The images, analysts say, prove Pakistan will soon have a fourth operational reactor, greatly expanding plutonium production for its nuclear-weapons program.
It’s dangerous because Pakistan is also stockpiling fissile material, or bomb fuel. Since Islamabad can mine uranium on its own territory and has decades of enrichment know-how—beginning with the work of nuclear scientist A. Q. Khan—the potential for production is significant.
[An] official who works on nuclear issues told Newsweek that intelligence estimates suggest Pakistan has already developed enough fissile material to produce more than 100 warheads and manufacture between eight and 20 weapons a year. “There’s no question,” the official says, “it’s the fastest-growing program in the world.”
Nukes, after all, are a valuable political tool, ensuring continued economic aid from the United States and Europe. “Pakistan knows it can outstare” the West, says Pakistani nuclear physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy. “It’s confident the West knows that Pakistan’s collapse is too big a price to pay, so the bailout is there in perpetuity. It’s the one thing we’ve been successful at.”

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