Iran, Pakistan and the nuclear threat

The world’s major powers have expressed great consternation over the prospect of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, US intelligence agencies have found no evidence that Iran has any intention of arming itself with nukes, let alone that it has an active nuclear weapons program, but the issue seems to have its own momentum. I’m no expert on geopolitics, but I can’t bring myself to imagine that Iran would actually want to nuke anyone, even if it could. In general, I’m sure there are people sufficiently insane or cold-blooded to press the button, given the opportunity. For instance, I don’t think Osama bin Laden or likeminded individuals would show a great deal of restraint. However, for all its faults, I find it very hard to place Iran in that category.

(Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s possibly mistranslated bluster over the end of Israel is really not all that convincing, in my opinion, and it only ever seems to be him doing the blustering. He’s an elected politician, after all, and he’s always struck me as a spin doctor looking to for a political reaction than a man who passionately believes what he’s saying.)

The real consequence of allowing Iran to create nuclear weapons, I think, is that Iran would become a more powerful player on the world stage, perhaps resulting in an arms race. This may not be desirable (depending on who you talk to), but it’s hardly catastrophic. And that’s assuming that the apparently baseless speculation over its nuclear ambitions is borne out.

Meanwhile, over the border, Pakistan already has operational nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Moreover, the current government seems to be fighting for its existence against the Taliban, who I certainly would not put above the use (or at least reckless distribution) of nukes. This is a group that rules by AK47 and is violently opposed to education for girls, having already destroyed a large numbers of schools. They make the Iranian regime look like a clique of humanists.

I’ll happily defer to the consensus of the world’s varied diplomats, foreign affairs advisors and miscellaneous geopolitical experts. However, on the face of it I have to wonder whether we have our priorities straight.