Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



Pakistani Nukes And Global Hazards

What's the situation in Pakistan? That is the crucial question as we assess its nuclear threat. It took the developed countries decades and huge amounts of money to get their safety system going. Such systems demand the latest technologies in many fields of science and production. Pakistan is not known, with any certainty, to possess such technologies.
by Alexander Koldobsky
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Jul 25, 2007
The word "nuclear" has a way of quickening people's pulse. The recent earthquake in Japan would have been just another earthquake, but the fact that it set off a fire at the world's most powerful nuclear reactor, which subsequently leaked radioactive material, grabbed the headlines. Pakistan, which has recently experienced a metaphorical earthquake in the form of Islamist terror, would also barely merit a mention on the inside pages if it were not for that country's nuclear arsenal.

The recent terrorist attack in Pakistan's northwest and the stand-off at the Red Mosque in Islamabad came not merely as another violent assault on President Pervez Musharraf's government. Pundits were immediately set to thinking about possible repercussions well beyond South Asia.

Other nuclear dangers, namely, those posed by Iran and North Korea, are better known and appear more alarming. Nevertheless, it will take six-eight years for Iran to develop its nukes, whatever its intentions might be, and North Korea's prospects are even more vague. Pakistan, on the other hand, is a nuclear state even now, with as many as 40 weapons and a stock of ballistic missiles. It carried out its first successful nuclear test in 1998.

Pakistan will never clash with Russia in a nuclear conflict-it is not on a suicide mission. True, Pakistani missiles can reach Russia, but it would be paranoid to be afraid of them. Russia could be contaminated if Pakistan clashed with India, its old foe-but the chance of a nuclear clash between them is negligible. A stalemate is the only possible arrangement between two neighboring countries in a tug-of-war for regional leadership, both of whom have comparable nuclear arsenals. If they do clash, they will kill each other, and both countries' rulers know it.

What if extremists come to power in Pakistan who prefer nuclear jihad to sane policies? That is just as improbable. First, however hotly such people might call on others to carry out acts of suicide terrorism, they are in no hurry to set an example.

Second, Pakistan has a powerful army drilled and organized along Western lines, which keeps the radical clergy in check and will never let fanatics make major policy decisions, especially nuclear ones-suffice it to recall the tough action at the Red Mosque.

Can the Pakistani authorities tolerate nukes smuggled out in secret or sold to other countries or non-state actors? That is hardly probable, with the danger it implies for Pakistan. The world's leading powers-terrorists' main targets-will surely launch an armed intervention if things take that turn.

Is there any chance of Pakistani nukes being stolen or accidentally blowing up? Here, the answer is not so clear-the world knows too little about the Pakistani arsenal's storage and maintenance. We have nothing but the reassurances repeatedly coming from the country's leaders.

It is essential to rule out the possibility of nuclear weapons blowing up by accident or being tampered with demand. Otherwise, they will be suicidal weapons and targets for terrorists. The developed nuclear countries have always paid tremendous attention to safety, with sophisticated codes, safety interlocks, and so on, leaving no chance of using stolen weapons or obtaining fissionable substances from them. A unified comprehensive safety network leaves nothing to chance in manufacturing, transporting and stockpiling nuclear arms, to say nothing of decision-making on their use.

What's the situation in Pakistan? That is the crucial question as we assess its nuclear threat. It took the developed countries decades and huge amounts of money to get their safety system going. Such systems demand the latest technologies in many fields of science and production. Pakistan is not known, with any certainty, to possess such technologies.

Pakistan's highly-enriched-uranium weapons are rather simple to handle. So, if stolen, their uranium could be used in homemade explosive devices.

All of this demands clarity and decisions that take into account not only all the hazards mentioned above but also sensitive aspects of Pakistani security, international law, and specific regional factors, including the dispute with India.

The starting point lies where Pakistani interests coincide with those of the world-which means the technical safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal must be guaranteed.

Alexander Koldobsky is a staff researcher at the Moscow Institute of Physical Engineering.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Source: RIA Novosti

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


Weak Nuclear Controls Could Allow Dirty Bomb
Washington (AFP) Jul 25, 2007
US investigators with a fake company got a license to buy enough nuclear material to build a radioactive bomb without a background check, said a report to Congress recently. In four weeks, investigators working for Congress obtained the license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to purchase enough nuclear material to build a so-called "dirty" bomb, which uses conventional explosives to spread radioactive material.







  • The Arctic Crisis Part 1
  • Is Russia One Of The Richest Countries
  • Russia Proposes Drafting Simpler START Arms Treaty
  • Russia Rejects NATO Offer As Crisis Looms Over CFE

  • Pakistani Nukes And Global Hazards
  • Weak Nuclear Controls Could Allow Dirty Bomb
  • North Korea May Disable Nukes Before Deadline But Wants A Light Water Reactor
  • Can The Iranian Nuclear Complex Survive A Bad Earthquake

  • Lockheed Martin Tests Guidance Upgrade And Improved Software For ATACMS Block IA Unitary
  • Lockheed Martin Conducts PAC-3 Missile Test At White Sands Missile Range
  • Lockheed Martin Tests Guidance Software For ATACMS Block IA Unitary
  • NetFires Conducts Successful Warhead Demonstration For Precision Attack Missile

  • GEO-1 Payload Readied For Delivery For Start Of Integration With Spacecraft
  • Czech Opposition To Radar Plans Grows As Russia About Consequences
  • Lockheed Martin-Built Milstar Satellite Constellation Repositioned To Enhance Global Coverage
  • US Versus Russia On ABM

  • Steering Aircraft Clear Of Choppy Air
  • EAA AirVenture 2007
  • Sensors May Monitor Aircraft For Defects Continuously
  • Sarkozy, Merkel To Tackle Airbus Problems

  • Army Signs Contract With Aurora For Continued Orion HALL Development
  • US Marine Corps Begins Transitioning To Shadow Tactical UAS
  • South Korea Seeks To Acquire Sensitive Spy Planes
  • Air Force Chief Of Staff Initiates MQ-1 Predator Plus-up

  • Anbar Fantasies Part 2
  • Pressure Mounts To Dump Iraq Back On UN
  • The Logistics Of Pulling Out Of Iraq A Political Minefield
  • Broad Failure In Middle East

  • New Prosthesis Could Help Keep Troops In The Fight
  • Raytheon Builds On Precision Munitions Success To Pursue Army Mid-Range Munition Contract
  • FA-18 AESA Radar Soars Into Full Rate Production
  • Northrop Grumman Delivers Initial Integrated Combat Management System For LCS-2

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement