The forgotten Centrifugist

Nuclear proliferation cannot seriously be tackled until the A Q Khan affair is cleared up

It would be a shame if the A Q Khan affair were to be allowed to slip through America’s electoral cracks, but that is exactly what Nicholas Kristof fears is happening.

I’m talking about the arrangement under which the U.S. cuts Pakistan some slack on nuclear proliferation, in exchange for President Pervez Musharraf’s joining aggressively in the hunt for Osama – in the hope of catching him by Nov. 2.

If a nuclear weapon destroys the U.S. Capitol in coming years, it will probably be based in part on Pakistani technology. The biggest challenge to civilization in recent years came not from Osama or Saddam Hussein but from Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb. Dr. Khan definitely sold nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, and, officials believe, to several more nations as well.

But, amazingly, eight months after Dr. Khan publicly confessed, we still don’t know who the rest of his customers were. Mr. Musharraf acknowledged as much in an interview.

“I can’t say surely that we have unearthed everything that he’s done, but I think we have unearthed most of what he’s done,” Mr. Musharraf said. Translated, that means: I’m afraid you’re eventually going to find out about other transactions that we’re still trying to hide.[NYT]

Robi recently highlighted that Khan’s European suppliers are being investigated, but the official complicity of Pakistan and China, and the United States’ own ‘blind-eye’ is not getting the attention it deserves. Musharraf now claims that A Q Khan was only a metallurgist and hence incapable of assisting Iran, Libya and the others in building the bomb [via Vijay].

Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation shenanigans have made the world a much more dangerous place, by ‘putting the world’s most dangerous weapons in the hands of its most dangerous regimes’. Musharraf let Khan get away with scarcely a rap on his knuckles. The United States seems to be letting Pakistan get away with much less.

2 thoughts on “The forgotten Centrifugist”

  1. Apparently, the US 15th Marine Expeditionery force is on an always-on alert somewhere in the Indian ocean, waiting to move in and ‘secure” Apkistan’s nukes, engaging Pakistani troops “if necessary” in the event of a coup or the Mush regime’s downfall.

    The Americans are the proud citizens of the greatest nation on earth and I find it hard to believe they can turn out to be such pathetic suckers when it comes to so important an issue.

  2. Rightly said about the Americans Sudhir – I find it easy to believe what you said about the force in the Indian Ocean too.
    Obviously the “metallurgist” could not have acted alone – in fact he could not have acted at all. It was the military that has been bartering with Pakistani technology (oxymoron??!) and the US would have confronted them about it in the post 9/11 scrutiny that Pak was being subjected to. It was then decided that Pak would have to say, yes we made mistakes in the past but will not do it again. This had to be done in a manner in which no one in Pak would be punished and there was sufficient hogwash to keep the world media “convinced”. Hence the very popular metallurgist was selected as a “scapegoat”. Since he was an individual it was easier to portray him as someone who has turned a new leaf. Thus the actual culprit, the Paki army, would come out relatively untainted and the US could save itself further embarrassment on the issue of its friendship with a proliferator.

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