Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pakistanis And The Bomb: Why They Don't Care

The jingoistic Pakistan Observer is dismayed by Pakistan's lack of fervor in celebrating Youm-e-Takbeer, a day set aside to observe Pakistan’s arrival as a nuclear power, when it tested its first nuclear device deep within the mountains of Balochistan.

Why the lack of fervor? The reasons are manifold, I suppose, the chief being that it has gained Pakistan little while costing it much. For many who thought having nuclear weapons would confer respect and prosperity on Pakistan are deeply disappointed. Pakistan continues to be poor, its economy anemic, where society is marred by crime and poverty, and government is hopeless, useless, and corrupt. The only difference today is that Pakistan now has the bomb, which makes Pakistan scarier, not respected.

And where is the peace dividend? Pakistan is swamped with militancy on its border with Afghanistan. Something called the Pakistan Taliban has controls a good chunk of the NWFP, while terrorists kill innocent Muslims with suicide bomb attacks at mosques all over the country. How are nuclear weapons going to stop this? Everyone knows that the sole reason Pakistan acquired nuclear weapons is India, and only India. Even with a first-strike capability, and multiple second-strike capabilities, Pakistan insists on keeping conventional military levels the same, commanding a lion's share of the federal budget.

Not to mention the idea of celebrating such a day as some sort of happy moment is the type of militarism that is not even seen in the United States, the only nation to use atomic weapons. Only idiots at the Pakistan Observer and the political elites are enamored enough to celebrate.

It was Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who got the ball rolling on Pakistan's nuclear program. He didn't care what it took, or what it cost. He said: "We will eat grass" but Pakistan must have nuclear weapons. Pakistan has nuclear weapons, but it is still eating grass.