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Threat Perception and Risk Inversion

An analysis written by ThreatsWatch's Steve Schippert on the nuclear threat posed by Pakistan has been published by The Weekly Standard on their website. In Threat Perception and Risk Inversion, it is reasoned that the most pressing terrorist threat still emanates from Iran, as it always has been over the past 28 years. Likewise, with Musharraf's stability within Pakistan increasingly precarious, the risk of the established Pakistani nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of a murky cabal of Islamist terrorists must be considered the gravest nuclear threat before us today.

"In a conversation with this reporter in October 2001, Gen. Gul forecast a future [Pakistani] Islamist nuclear power that would form a greater Islamic state with a fundamentalist Saudi Arabia after the monarchy falls." --Arnaud de Borchgrave, August 2004
THERE REMAINS an inversion of public discourse and policy direction with regard to two of the most significant threats we face. In particular, the most pressing nuclear threat is widely perceived to be from Iran while the more imminent terrorist threat is believed to be found in Pakistan. While both threats remain very real, few seem to understand that the most imminent nuclear threat is posed by Pakistan--the only current nuclear power considerably within reach of becoming an Islamist-run state aligned with al Qaeda, the Taliban, or other Islamists. Conversely, Iran's still-developing nuclear weapons program deceptively overshadows the significant state-sponsored international terrorism emanating from Tehran. This, while Pakistan's increasingly embattled--and internally challenged--President Pervez Musharraf stands as the primary buffer between Islamist forces of the ISI, the Taliban, and al Qaeda taking ownership of Pakistan's significant nuclear arsenal of 30 to 50 warheads.

We extend our gratitude to the people of The Weekly Standard, particularly Online Editor Jonathan Last and Senior Writer Stephen F. Hayes, for believing that the subject matter and our writing was worthy of their space.

You can read the rest of Threat Perception and Risk Inversion here.

2 Comments

Outstanding article Steve!

The demise of Musharraf seems imminent as concessions continue to be made. The ISI, long the supporters of the Taliban, should never have been trusted. Consider that not only is there a nuclear threat in Pakistan, but that the fall of Musharaff could also lead to the fall of Karzai's Afghanistan. If that occurs, then we will be back to zero geographically (relative to Taliban/al Aqaeda controlled regions), yet with a generally deteriorated security situation.

If you take the scenario further, that instability could well bleed to increased conflict between Pakistan and India (another nuclear country).

Sadly, Musharaff, IMO, was never the leader we needed as a trusted ally, and in turn, the Taliban never were really defeated.

The implications are shuddering.

Hopefully we know where those weapons are and have a war plan for a pre-emptive action to neutralize all of them.
Allowing those weapons to fall into the hands of al-qaeda is not allowable under any circumstances.

If the Democrats do allow that, then our first nuclear war is a guaranteed certainty.

Looking at the whole battlefield, it seems that sooner or later we are going to have to fight war, as opposed to "winning hearts and minds".