The New York Times editorial makes a good point about the danger to nuclear stability of the growing Pakistan nuclear arsenal and materials. The problem has many components and all reinforce the need for a stronger global stance against proliferation.
Those who want to tear down our diplomacy, our efforts to limit proliferation and to build moves that will lessen the chance of regional conflicts are wrong-headed and dangerous to our interests. In this case, the problem needs to include India, China, as well as Pakistan. It also means that key global players need to assist in this effort and that includes the U.S., Russia, Britain and key international organizations.
Yes, the first step is to find a basis of reconciliation between India and Pakistan. That means finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem which is a hard rock but a necessary step, as is joint action against all forms of terrorism. Yet another move is to build strategic confidence building institutions and programs which will enable both side to stand down and halt their more aggressive actions against each other.
We have been helping Pakistan with weapons security, but more needs to be done by both sides. Not least, and most dangerous, is the instability of the government and the society given the active terrorism in that country. We need to be active in helping that problem with our assistance.
Building wider regional and global treatise or agreements that will limit any arms race and enable both sides to build down clearly is urgent. That will take time but a start is need now to begin a move in that direction.
America has so much at stake in creating conciliation and confidence in each other’s intentions. Certainly military to military contacts will help. But we have to rethink our nuclear policy toward both India and Pakistan…..one that moves more actively towards getting them to join multilateral agreement that both sides see as increasing their security.