The growing specter of “nuclear terrorism”

As 47 state officials from around the world are currently in Washington DC for a “nuclear security summit,” the Obama administration continues to redirect its nuclear policy towards a focus on “rogue states” and “terrorist groups” with a particular focus on Pakistan as a nuclear weapons state in South Asia. For an anti-imperialist analysis of the role of Pakistan in the “Global War on Terror,” U.S. fear-mongering about the “swelling ranks” of the Taliban, and U.S. military intervention in Pakistan, check out this amazing talk with South Asia Solidarity Initiative activist Adaner Usmani:

“…An American anti-war movement trying to understand the troubles in Pakistan, today, need look no further than the heinous foreign policy pursued by the American establishment. Historically, the US government has backed the forces of reaction to the hilt, against the people of the country. The reasons, I think, are well-known–in the post-WWII world, Pakistan quickly became a willing satrap, joining the South East Asia Treaty Organizatoin (SEATO) in 1954, signing the anti-Nasserite Baghdad Pact a year later; readily recognizing American client regimes in South Korea and South Vietnam; even condoning the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956 until the Americans expressed their opposition…

…Today’s co-ordination between the Obama administration and the Pakistani establishment is, I would argue, very much of a piece with this earlier history. This may seem harsh–the Obama crowd may argue that, today, the Americans have allied themselves with a civilian government–that they are in this sense making a break with many of the failed policies of the past.

But–and this is CRUCIAL–when it comes down to it–and particularly when we’re thinking about the conflict in the NW and in Afghanistan–[Pakistan’s] civilian government is tolerated by the US only insofar as the policy it pursues is in line with America’s military escalation in the region. In other words: this is a government that Obama and the rest have found they can work with, precisely because it has embraced the militarized logic of the Long War. It is not simple coincidence that the current Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, was ambassador to Colombia from 2000 to 2003, where she oversaw Plan Colombia in the early stages of its implementation. What’s more: her successor, William Wood, left Colombia to become ambassador to Afghanistan in 2007–Obama replaced him, earlier this year, with–of all people–a career army officer, Karl Eikenberry.

Change you can believe in, I think it’s called.”

Also as Arab leaders call for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has pulled out of the weapons summit, though Israel remains the sole nuclear power in the Middle East.  An Israeli official said it was because Turkey and Egypt and other Muslim nations intended to raise questions about Israel’s nuclear weapons.

Speaking earlier last week, Netanyahu said he had hoped to use the conference to press for action over the fear of “terrorists” or “rogue regimes” acquiring nuclear arms and did not want the group to be sidetracked by issues over Israel’s weapons.

“I’m not concerned that anyone would think that Israel is a terrorist regime,” he told reporters. “Everybody knows a terrorist and rogue regime when they see one, and believe me, they see quite a few around Israel.”

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