This blog advertises itself as being about arms control, but you’ll notice that it’s all about Iran, North Korea, Syria, and occasionally places like Libya or the UAE, with glances from time to time in the direction of New Delhi or Moscow. (Back when Anya blogged here, you’d see the occasional Belarus item, of course.) The point? Above all else — and this is my personal view, but I think Paul would agree — this is really a blog about the nonproliferation regime and its problems.
Why? Because it’s interesting. It’s full of new developments and there are all sorts of little puzzles to solve. This is why people play Sudoku, too. It doesn’t suggest that any of these topics is necessarily the most important thing going on.
And what is? Well, if you worry about the spread of nuclear weapons or the possibility of nuclear terrorism, then Issue Number One is not Iran, and it’s not North Korea, either. At the moment, it’s not even MPC&A in Russia. It’s Pakistan, and how much longer there will be a Pakistan as we know it.
Iran’s always a hot topic because a radical theocracy might get the Bomb. “But what if the Bomb gets a radical theocracy?”:http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1220444321280&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull A _really_ radical one, too. They do have TV and the Internet in Iran, you realize, but Afghanistan didn’t when the Taliban were in charge there, and Pakistan is now headed down that path. When the corrupt old order crumbles and “Commander of the Faithful” Mullah Omar assumes power over 175 million hungry mouths and who-knows-how-many nuclear warheads, then the fun begins.
That’s when the “nonproliferation”:http://www.carnegieendowment.org/npp/ crowd sort of runs out of things to say, and the “counterproliferation”:http://www.ndu.edu/WMDCenter/ folks pick up.
All of our national debates over Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea pale in comparison to this scenario, which I’m extremely sorry to say is no longer a theoretical possibility, but is “unfolding”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/14/world/asia/14punjab.html “before”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/17/AR2009041702378.html “our”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/world/asia/17pstan.html “eyes”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/19/AR2009041901731.html.
Let’s hope there’s still time to rescue the situation. Unfortunately, it’s fair to say that we won’t have much help from the current Pakistani authorities, who — even “after”:http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2007/12/pakistan_over_50_kil.php “everything”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6503477.stm “that’s”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7161590.stm “happened”:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/3041148/Islamabad-Marriott-hotel-bomb-killed-52-says-Pakistan.html there — are seemingly “unable”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/18/AR2009041800415.html or “unwilling”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/19/AR2009041900752.html to recognize that either their country’s problems or the solutions to them lie within their own borders. And that, of course, is the problem.