Posted on 28-02-2011
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

Pervez Hoodbhoy has this pessimistic take on the perils of a nuclear-armed failing Pakistani state.  For all the opprobrium it received for the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan has still not brought the attack planners to justice or commenced dismantling its terror infrastructure.  Incredibly the bankrupt Pakistani state appears to be betting all its chips on the nuclear shield.  So a state which survives on financial aid is risking an arms race with its larger and stronger neighbor that will make its fragile condition even worse.

Hoodbhoy is probably right in that another attack on India is only a matter of time.  How will India then react to the rogue state on its western border?  Indians have noted that the Bush doctrine allowed the United States to invade Afghanistan, but the United States limits the Indian response to its terrorism sponsoring neighbor.  This perpetuates the Pakistani faith in its nuclear deterrent as a shield for any foreign misadventures.

It must be noted that the second and less appreciated part of Pakistan’s shield will eventually disappear.  The US will get out of Afghanistan and will no longer need Pakistan as a supply route for its troops.  Similar to 1989, it will be far easier for Washington to cut Pakistan loose after it withdraws from Afghanistan.  With China already sponsoring North Korea and Burma, will it want the Pakistani basket case in its lap?  Given its size, location and the size of its nuclear arsenal, the collapse of Pakistan will be a far greater geopolitical nightmare than the fall of the rickety regime in Pyongyang.

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