Awesome news: Pakistan ramping up production of nukes

Makes sense. What better way for a country that’s dangerously unstable and beset by radicals to spend its money during a global recession than by saturating itself with doomsday weapons? I only hope they saved a little for the smallpox program.

This is like a police hostage situation. Pakistan’s the desperate nut with a bomb who’s threatening to set it off and kill everyone around him and we’re the negotiator who has to talk him down somehow. We can’t make a move on him for fear that he’ll explode and we can’t walk away for the same reason. We’re at his mercy.

Members of Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistan’s nuclear program…

The administration’s effort is complicated by the fact that Pakistan is producing an unknown amount of new bomb-grade uranium and, once a series of new reactors is completed, bomb-grade plutonium for a new generation of weapons. President Obama has called for passage of a treaty that would stop all nations from producing more fissile material — the hardest part of making a nuclear weapon — but so far has said nothing in public about Pakistan’s activities.

Bruce Riedel, the Brookings Institution scholar who served as the co-author of Mr. Obama’s review of Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, reflected the administration’s concern in a recent interview, saying that Pakistan “has more terrorists per square mile than anyplace else on earth, and it has a nuclear weapons program that is growing faster than anyplace else on earth.”…

But the billions in new proposed American aid, officials acknowledge, could free other money for Pakistan’s nuclear infrastructure, at a time when Pakistani officials have expressed concern that their nuclear program is facing a budget crunch for the first time, worsened by the global economic downturn. The program employs tens of thousands of Pakistanis, including about 2,000 believed to possess “critical knowledge” about how to produce a weapon.

Indian media’s already picked up the story, which means public pressure on their government to confront The One about U.S. “aid” to the enemy will be spiking. It’s actually fitting that this news is breaking on a day when Obama’s meeting Netanyahu to whine about a Palestinian state, since it underscores how effective Arafat was in making his pet cause top priority for international peacemaking. In a sane world, the top priority would be forging a final settlement of Kashmir and lasting peace between India and Pakistan so that Islamabad could ease off the nuclear accelerator and focus properly on dealing with the Taliban. Instead, we’re jerking around with Israel about manufacturing a state for a people that aren’t ready for it and probably don’t even want it. Exit question: Who are these new nukes aimed at, anyway? The obvious answer is India, especially post-Mumbai with tensions peaking again, but I’m not so sure. The more dangerous Pakistan is, the more America has to equivocate between it and India and the more aid we have to provide to try to keep the country stable. They may be literally aimed at India, but isn’t the point of building them aimed at us? And to think — your tax dollars are paying for them.