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Outside View: Nuke Proliferators Can't Be Stopped

File photo of General Mirza Aslam Beg, former chief of staff of the Pakistani army.
by Mirza Aslam Beg
Outside View Commentator
Rawalpindi, Pakistan (UPI) Mar 07, 2005
Early last year when Abdul Qadeer Khan was targeted for alleged nuclear proliferation, I was also implicated and remained under the world media's focus.

During an NBC TV network interview, I was asked the question whether I would like my future generations to live in this part of the world, which is threatened by nuclear holocaust.

I said: Yes, certainly, I would like my future generations to live in South Asia where I see no threat of nuclear war, because perfect nuclear deterrence holds between India and Pakistan. But certainly I would not like my future generations to live in the neighborhood of "nuclear capable Israel."

He questioned: In that case would you like to pass on the nuclear capability to Iran, which considers itself threatened by Israel? I said no. Countries acquire the capability on their own, as we have done it.

Iran will do the same, because they are threatened by Israel. The media hype and the consequences of the reported nuclear proliferation, led to the tormenting treatment meted out to Khan.

For a long time, Americans and Europeans have been engaged in nuclear proliferation, as part of a concept, called "outsourcing nuclear capability," to friendly countries as a measure of defense against nuclear strikes. The concept is interesting as well as regrettable.

The Natural Resource Defense Council of the United States reveals in its report that: "A specific number of nuclear warheads, under U.S. and NATO war plans, will be transferred to America's non-nuclear allies to be delivered to targets by their warplanes.

"Preparations for delivering 180 nuclear bombs are taking place in peacetime, and equipping non-nuclear countries with the means to conduct nuclear warfare, (which) is inconsistent with today's international efforts to dissuade other countries from obtaining nuclear weapons.

"The arsenal is being kept at eight Air Force bases in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and Britain. The strike plans' potential targets are Russia and countries in the Middle East - most likely Iran and Syria."

It would be appropriate to call this concept as "enlightened nuclear proliferation" being implemented by those who are responsible for nuclear non-proliferation regime.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, nuclear scientists and nuclear material of all kinds proliferated: "Half of the nuclear materials, pieces and parts of it, are unaccounted for by the Russians - and a lot of them, are at places in rural areas, which is more threatening to the world right now."

India, "according to international media - February 2004, reported 25 cases of 'missing' or 'stolen' radioactive material from its labs to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Fifty-two percent of the cases were attributed to 'theft' and 48 percent to 'missing mystery.' India claimed to have recovered lost material in 12 of the total 25 cases." How innocently simple, is the way of "innocent nuclear proliferation."

For quite a while, North Korea has been complaining about nuclear warheads placed in South Korea by the United States, which prompted North Korea to develop its own nuclear weapon capability.

In Pakistan's neighborhood, Iran is under tremendous pressure, for allegedly attempting to develop the nuclear weapons, which Iran has denied. The war of nerves between the United States and Iran thus has been going on for quite sometime.

On Feb. 16 very disturbing news was splashed on a Pakistani private TV channel, picked up from Tehran Radio, that 12 of the suspected Iranian nuclear sites had been hit by missiles.

The news was really alarming but gradually it transpired that, some rock blasting occurred in the southern region of Iran, which was taken as missile attacks.

Whether the news was fake or prompted, it did help Iran test the nerves of United States and Israel, because both promptly denied that any such strike was carried out. Thus deterrence between Iran and Israel now has appears to have crossed the threshold of ambiguity, which, indeed is significant.

While Iran has tested the nerves of its adversaries, North Korea has corrected the imbalance in South East Asia by declaring its capability. Since both are termed "rogue states," it would be proper to call it "rogue nuclear proliferation."

Nuclear deterrence between Iran and Israel has crossed the psychological barrier. Nuclear deterrence between South and North Korea has already been established.

Therefore, the nuclear fault line of the 21st century, now extends from Israel to Iran, Pakistan to India and South Korea to North Korea, while the strategic balance is held by the United States and Europe on one side and Russia and China on the other.

The nuclear non-proliferation regime, therefore, is dying its natural death at the hands of those who are the exponents of the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

How the new balance of terror will be maintained from Mediterranean to Pacific is a task for those who, having themselves violated the nuclear proliferation regime, are now responsible for maintaining global nuclear peace.

The world now has to wait and see how objectives of the utopian nuclear non-proliferation regime are achieved.

At the beginning of the new era, the emerging multipolar world order is facing the formidable challenge of a dangerous global nuclear security paradigm.

Fortunately, the emerging multipolar global order is expected to be less confrontational than the bipolar world order and less brutal and tyrannical than the unipolar world order of today.

With at least six competing geo-economic centers of power, the new world order would be more democratic in nature as it would be governed by forces of globalization and integrative economic demands.

Such democratization of the world order will bring sanity into the entire gambit of nuclear proliferation. The "enlightened proliferators" together, with the "innocent," and the "rogue proliferators," would democratize the global nuclear non-proliferation order. This may be the only hope for all living beings inhabiting this wretched earth.

(Khan is the father of Pakistan's nuclear program who confessed on Feb. 6, 2004, to selling nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. The author, Mirza Aslam Beg, is the former chief of the Pakistan Army.)

(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

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Khan Network Can Regroup, Warns Report
Washington (UPI) Mar 02, 2005
The network that supplied nuclear technology to rogue states can regroup and resume its activities, warns a report by a Washington-based anti-proliferation organization.

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