November 17, 2014

How Pakistan Blackmails Uncle Sam With Nukes

Below is an excerpt from author C. Christine Fair's lecture about Pakistan's army at The Institute of World Politics on July 28, 2014.
"I argue in the book that if you sort of look at the temerity, the brazenness of Pakistan's use of these non-state actors, if they're plotted out, it very much aligns with the trajectory of Pakistan's expanding nuclear umbrella. So what does this mean for U.S. policymakers? It's hard for me to be incredibly optimistic about this place. As the power differentials between India and Pakistan continue to expand, Pakistan is even less capable of achieving its aims conventionally. In other words, Pakistan's non-conventional assets, Jihad and the nuclear umbrella, become ever more important. If you have any doubt about that I encourage you to look at Pakistan's pursuit of tactical nuclear weapons, what they actually call battlefield nuclear weapons.

This is actually a pretty genius strategy because are not only Pakistan's nuclear weapons intended to coerce India, they're also intended to coerce us. So, whenever there is a terrorist attack launched in India by a Pakistan proxy we call up the Indians, 'please don't do anything, please don't escalate, Pakistan is going to go crazy.' So, we actually sit on the Indians, and this is an important part of Pakistan's strategy because it shields them from baring the full cost of their policies, because we're basically giving the Indians an out from escalating by us putting pressure on them. The Pakistanis know that as long as they have this spectre of the Islamist barbarians at the nuclear gate we are never going to leave with our checkbook, which I think explains why we continue to put up with persistent outrages from the Pakistanis, because at the end of the day, we really are too afraid to let go.

So the Pakistanis know that we know that when these weapons are in their garrisons, they're fairly safe, but when there is a conflict, they're assembled, they're mated to their delivery mechanisms and they're forward deployed. And this is how they are able to suck the Americans into this conflict cycle. If there are no nuclear weapons, why do we care? The Indians would've just trounced Pakistan a long time ago. But we're worried when these things are forward deployed that's when they're vulnerable to theft. And if you've been looking at the various episodes where the Pakistani military has been targeted, relatively low-ranking officers are able to provide really important information.
So we're very worried about this, and they know we're very worried about this. The introduction of battlefield nuclear weapons shortens the timeline that they can get us all wrapped up into a swivet. So, they're very clever in how they use their nuclear weapons not only to coerce the Indians, and to raise the cost of any sort of punitive counter-measures developed against the Pakistanis, they also use them to coerce us to stay and continue writing the cheques." - C. Christine Fair [49:49 - 52:49 in this video].