By Karl Gotthardt
CBS and the National Journal hosted last night’s GOP Presidential debate on Foreign Policy and National Security. Touted as the Commander in Chief debate, the subjects were complex with limited time allocation to answer any of the questions. The application of the rules were rigid, with candidates cut off often. It is fair to say that some of the regions could have used an hour each to give the debates any credence rather than, what is so often the case, collecting a few sound bytes.
This introduction is just to demonstrate how complicated foreign policy is and the debate only touched the surface of real issues that a Commander in Chief should be well versed in. The world is complicated and dangerous. During the debate, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons security got a cursory review. Major Garrett of the National Journal provided a link of a story that gives credence that the United States has to be concerned over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Again in this case, one liner responses were not appropriate. The article in the link asserts that the Pakistani government has little control of its arsenal and that the Pakistani military is more concerned about the arsenal being captured by the United States than Islamists. It also asserts that Pakistan’s military and Intelligence Service has been hiding the arsenal from US spy satellites especially after the raid on the Bin Laden compound and eventual assassination of the Al Quaeda leader.
When it comes to foreign aid for Pakistan, the candidates were divided, with Bachmann and Santorum stating that the US must keep engaged with Pakistan because it has nuclear weapons. Of course Pakistan is also a key to the security of Afghanistan.
To demonstrate, how difficult of a problem Pakistan is, the link provided by Major Garrett provides a detailed analysis. It should be mandatory reading for any aspiring Commander in Chief.
Shortly after Navy SEALs raided the Pakistani city of Abbottabad in May and killed Osama bin Laden, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the Pakistani chief of army staff, spoke with Khalid Kidwai, the retired lieutenant general in charge of securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Kidwai, who commands a security apparatus called the Strategic Plans Division, had been expecting Kayani’s call.Kayani, the most powerful man in a country that has only a simulacrum of civilian leadership, had been busy in the tense days that followed the bin Laden raid: He had to assure his American funders U.S. taxpayers provide more than $2 billion in annual subsidies to the Pakistani military that the army had no prior knowledge of bin Laden’s hideout, located less than a mile from Pakistan’s preeminent military academy; and at the same time he had to subdue the uproar within his ranks over what was seen as a flagrant violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty by an arrogant Barack Obama. But he was also anxious about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and he found time to express this worry to Kidwai.Much of the world, of course, is anxious about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and for good reason: Pakistan is an unstable country located at the epicenter of global jihadism, and it has been the foremost supplier of nuclear technology to such rogue states as Iran and North Korea. “The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short term, medium term, and long term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon,” President Obama said last year at an international nuclear-security meeting in Washington. Al‑Qaida, Obama said, is “trying to secure a nuclear weapon—a weapon of mass destruction that they have no compunction at using.”
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