The threat of a nuclear armed Iran terrifies Americans who find a potentially nuclear armed Iran more frightening than they did the Soviet Union in 1985. Iran has no nuclear weapons but in 1985 the Soviets had the largest nuke arsenal in the entire world yet somehow Iran is still more terrifying. As Iran submits to inspections and nuclear talks conclude in Baghdad it is important not to get blindsided by the rhetoric. Iran is described by many high level people as the gravest threat to America, Israel and the world as we know it, but are they really the biggest threat?
Who Else Do We Have To Worry About?
Three-quarters of the American public see Iran and North Korea as “serious” threats while only 44 percent feels the same way about Russia. Iran is certainly a threat to Israel however the threat to the United States is minimal. The threat to the America people has been blown way out of proportion so much so that a mere mention of a nuclear armed Iran is enough to bring about talks of war. It should speak volumes about how much the threat has been exaggerated that Americans fear a possible nuke more than they did a country with the most nuclear weapons in the world during a “war” where the use of nuclear weapons was always possible. So who should we fear?
Russia is no longer a threat to the United States. North Korea can’t get a missile off the ground. Iran doesn’t have a single nuke but Pakistan has over 100. Pakistani and American relations are at an all time low thanks to our sneaky mission to kill the symbolic head of al-Qaeda. Pakistan also has a very rocky relationship with its neighbor; Afghanistan. Like most Muslim countries, Pakistan has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel but they take it a step further. On every Pakistani’s passport are the words “this passport is valid for all countries of the World except Israel”.
While relations are icy between the U.S and Pakistan (and completely frozen between Israel and Pakistan), Pakistan remains an ally of the United States. Why should we fear Pakistan’s nuclear weapons then? One of the continuous fears that those in the field of preventing nuclear proliferation have is the loss of one or more of Pakistan’s nukes. By Western security standards Pakistan’s facilities are like Swiss cheese. Putting security fears aside Pakistan is also on quite a few lists that show the state at a risk of collapsing. If Pakistan were to collapse it would be a monumental task to secure or even find all of their nuclear weapons before material or even a warhead are stolen. Groups like al-Qaeda and the Haqqani Network are prevalent in Pakistan and a nuclear armed terrorist group is the world’s biggest threat.
Why Is No One Talking About This?
Talks about Pakistan collapsing in Washington probably would do more to destabilize the Pakistani government and our relationship. Our hope is that if we continue to send Pakistan more money they will be able to continue to stay afloat and use some of that money to secure their nuclear arsenal. However with the focus on Iran’s nuclear threat politicians are more willing to cut military funding for Pakistan and as a result Pakistan is becoming more brazen in dealing with the United States. Talks are at a standstill and both sides are trying to piss each other off. If relations break down entirely, especially after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the complete loss of funds could cause Pakistan to implode.
Nuclear Weapons Are Always A Threat
A nuclear armed Iran is a scary thought but it’s not as bad as a nuclear armed terrorist group which does not abide by any international agreements. We have sanctioned Iran into the ground and have announced that we will stop them from acquiring a bomb. What else can we do? Pakistan on the other hand has over 100 nuclear weapons in unsecure locations that in the event of Pakistan’s collapse would be impossible to secure in a timely fashion. That threat is immediate and it should have our attention. The deterioration of relations with Pakistan needs to be stopped before they reach the point of no return and we face a nuclear armed terrorist.
The actual size of Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile is hard for experts to gauge owing to the extreme secrecy which surrounds the program in Pakistan. However, in 2007, retired Pakistan Army’s Brigadier-General Feroz Khan, previously second in command at the Strategic Arms Division of Pakistans’ Military told a Pakistani newspaper that Pakistan had “about 80 to 120 genuine warheads.”
In 2008, the United States admitted that it did not know where all of Pakistan’s nuclear sites are located.Via: Wikipedia