FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The World Doesn’t Have a Pakistan Nukes Problem … It Has a David Albright Problem

As AFP tells us, the Institute for Science and International Security just published a report on Pakistan’s nuclear program that seems designed to pour gasoline on the “the Pakistani nuclear program is outta control” story.

And, when you look at the story, there isn’t a whole lot of there there.

The commercial [satellite] images reveal a major expansion of a chemical plant complex near Dera Ghazi Kahn that produces uranium hexalfuoride and uranium metal, materials used to produce nuclear weapons.

Big whoop, I must say. The Pakistanis love their nuclear weapons, and it’s not surprising—as a sovereign state outside the NPT—they might decide to make some more.

The only conceivable takeaway from this report is muddled alarmism, which ISIS obligingly provides.

Given turmoil in Pakistan with the army waging war against Taliban militants in the northwest, the ISIS said the “security of its nuclear assets remains in question.”

“An expansion in nuclear weapons production capabilities needlessly complicates efforts to improve the security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets,” it said.

I don’t get it. How are things suddenly more complicated by an expansion in capacity?

Washington, apparently believing that it doesn’t have enough on its plate with al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistan Taliban, is suddenly awash with dramatic plans to add a self-created problem to the mix: a quixotic effort to wrest Pakistan’s nuclear weapons out of the hands of the Army if the situation deteriorates.

And selling that idea seems to require fomenting an irrational panic concerning Pakistan’s nuclear program, as a metastasizing cancerous problem that’s getting BIGGER and BIGGER if we don’t DO SOMETHING.

You know what it smells like to me?

It smells like an effort by some to put a radical U.S. nuclear counterproliferation doctrine on the table now, so when it’s the end of the year and it’s time to deal with that other Muslim country with the destabilizing nuclear capability—you know, the one on the other side of Afghanistan, the one that the Israelis are so upset about—public opinion has been primed to accept the idea that some combination of air strikes, special ops, and insertion of U.S. forces is needed to save the world from an Islamic nuclear program that’s…outta control!

A crisis in Pakistan—and high-profile U.S. handwringing over those dangerous Muslim nukes—might be the best thing that happens to Benjamin Netanyahu this year.

We’ll see.

Anyway, I don’t think we have a Pakistan nukes problem.

We have a reckless and cynical fearmongering problem that should ring alarm bells for anybody who remembers the Iraq war.

In a small way, I think we also have a David Albright problem.

ISIS is run by David Albright.

Scott Ritter delivered a devastating rip job on Albright in Truthdig last year, entitled The Nuclear Expert Who Never Was.

He characterized Albright as a dilettante wannabe nuclear weapons guy, who has self-promoted himself, his honorary doctorate, and his institute using the flimsiest of pretexts.

More importantly, Ritter identifies Albright’s key credential as a willingness to offer up uninformed and tendentious alarmism when the situation demands it.

Ritter’s conclusion sums up his feelings about Albright’s role in the nuclear non-proliferation debate:

Albright, operating under the guise of his creation, ISIS, has a track record of inserting hype and speculation about matters of great sensitivity in a manner which skews the debate toward the worst-case scenario. Over time Albright often moderates his position, but the original sensationalism still remains, serving the purpose of imprinting a negative image in the psyche of public opinion. This must stop. It is high time the mainstream media began dealing with David Albright for what he is (a third-rate reporter and analyst), and what he isn’t (a former U.N. weapons inspector, doctor, nuclear physicist or nuclear expert). It is time for David Albright, the accidental inspector, to exit stage right. Issues pertaining to nuclear weapons and their potential proliferation are simply too serious to be handled by amateurs and dilettantes.

Amen to that.

PETER LEE is a business man who has spent thirty years observing, analyzing, and writing on Asian affairs. Lee can be reached at peterrlee-2000@yahoo.

More articles by:

Peter Lee edits China Matters and writes about Asia for CounterPunch.  

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 20, 2019
Robert Hunziker
The Dangerous Methane Mystery
David Schultz
The Intellectual Origins of the Trump Presidency and the Construction of Contemporary American Politics
Sabri Öncü
Thus Spoke the Bond Market
Gary Leupp
Japanese and German Doubts on U.S. Drumbeat Towards Iran War
Binoy Kampmark
The Fragility of Democracy: Hong Kong, China and the Extradition Bill
Doug Johnson
On the Morning Consult Poll, Margins of Error, and the Undecideds in the Democratic Primary
Laura Flanders
In Barcelona, Being a Fearless City Mayor Means Letting the People Decide
Martha Rosenberg
Humor: Stop These Language Abuses
Jim Goodman
Current Farm Crisis Offers Opportunity For Change
Cesar Chelala
The Pope is Wrong on Argentina
Kim C. Domenico
Lessons from D.H. : A Soul-based Anarchist Vision for Peace-making
Jesse Jackson
Mobilizing the Poor People’s Campaign
Wim Laven
We Need Evidence-Based Decision Making
Cesar Chelala
Health Consequences of Overwork
June 19, 2019
Matthew Stevenson
Requiem for a Lightweight: the Mayor Pete Factor
Kenneth Surin
In China Again
Stephen Cooper
Abolishing the Death Penalty Requires Morality
George Ochenski
The DNC Can’t Be Allowed to Ignore the Climate Crisis
John W. Whitehead
The Omnipresent Surveillance State
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
Guaidó’s Star Fades as His Envoys to Colombia Allegedly Commit Fraud With Humanitarian Funds for Venezuela
Dave Lindorff
What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?
Howard Lisnoff
Try Not to Look Away
Binoy Kampmark
Matters of Water: Dubious Approvals and the Adani Carmichael Mine
Karl Grossman
The Battle to Stop the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, Revisited
Kani Xulam
Farting in a Turkish Mosque
Dean Baker
New Manufacturing Jobs are Not Union Jobs
Elizabeth Keyes
“I Can’t Believe Alcohol Is Stronger Than Love”
June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: USA Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail