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If Pakistan falls to powers openly hostile to the US and if the US attempts to relieve Pakistan of its nukes, the consequences will be profound.  Successful or not, the frustration and anger of the Islamic world would overflow.  
Overwhelming Afghanistan and invading Iraq are hardly comparable to engaging in an act of war with a country of a billion people.
I won't offer a prediction for the future, but we should not expect some fly-by-night nuke rescue to solve the over-arching problem.  Afghanistan is not going to remain in US control for long, that's for sure.  Guessing what happens next does not include any happy endings.
by Andhakari on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:00:53 PM EST
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Overwhelming Afghanistan and invading Iraq are hardly comparable to engaging in an act of war with a country of a billion people.

Leaving aside that Pakistan has nowhere close to 1 billion people, I have to say that removing a couple of nukes hardly seems comparable to directly or indirectly killing hundreds of thousands of people.

It will piss off alot of people, true, but if Pakistan implodes, there are no good options when it comes to their nuclear weapons. Having them removed by the US might be one of the less dangerous ones, and might even be supported by parts of the current powers in Pakistan.

All this is of course pure speculation.

by Trond Ove on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 01:51:11 PM EST
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Sorry, I misspoke regarding the population figure.
In respect to the removal of nukes, I was not suggesting that nukes in the hands of irresponsible leadership was preferable to their removal (be they eastern, western, American or Pakistani), but rather that the removal did not solve the problem so much as redefine it.
The occupation of Afghanistan does become a very different sort of problem with an openly hostile Pakistan.  If that kind of problem is met by someone of George Bush's temperament and subtlety, then I think we can anticipate many new and less than entertaining developments.
And yes, many folk in the region would be happy to see Pakistan without nukes, but I don't think that will stop them from hating America more for their interference.  We don't need to anticipate "rational" reactions -- that would be a bit much to ask.
by Andhakari on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 05:41:52 PM EST
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There is also India to consider.

India/Pakistan damn near came to war several years ago and there are, unconfirmed AFAIK, reports of nuclear weapons being released to theater commanders.  Meaning, the world hovered on the brink of a nuclear exchange¹ with the 'hold' being the least stable theater commander.

India has continually repeated they think terrorist attacks in India are being supported and financed by the ISI.  Upon the military and political leadership concluding Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is under, or going to be under, control of the ISI or their political allies a sufficient condition for a pre-emptive First Strike has been met.  

¹ Jargon for a small scale nuclear war.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 02:35:57 PM EST
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Andhakari:
Overwhelming Afghanistan and invading Iraq are hardly comparable to engaging in an act of war with a country of a billion people.
You're mixing up the "one billion muslims" figure with the population of Pakistan, which is 1/6 of a billion. Than again, Pakistan is the 6th largest country in the world by population so it doesn't matter how big it is in absolute terms. It's still huge.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 28th, 2007 at 06:36:44 AM EST
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