Friday, February 06, 2004


Pakistan and nuclear proliferation

Recent reporting of the activities of Pakistan's Father of The Bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, has almost universally overlooked one striking fact - on how Pakistan got The Bomb in the first place.

Khan was convicted in 1983 by a Netherlands court for stealing nuclear secrets. This conviction was later overturned on a technicality, according to this American report, and just "overturned" according to the BBC. Sadly, I am not inclined to follow the (once-authoritative) BBC version on this one - an acquittal is an acquittal is an acquittal, period - in most cases in the criminal law, but when you're talking about The Bomb, every nuance counts.

Khan's criminality means that no one - and least of all, the West - should be surprised that he has been peddling N-death, apparently to every shitbox country in the world that wanted it.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, didn't refer to Khan (or Pakistan) by name when he said in 2003 that, while Iraq was contained, the rest of the world had turned into a "Wal-Mart of private-sector proliferation".

If ElBaradei's analogy is correct, it is at least heartening that Khan has been offering The Bomb to third-world dictatorships at Wal-Mart-style low, low prices (not to mention the missile casings presumably being kept shiny and clean by Wal-Mart-style bonded serfs). If The Bomb turns out to be of Wal-Mart (= Made in China) quality as well, the West may have the last laugh, after all.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?