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.  

March 21, 2018
Paul Street
Time is Running Out: Who Will Protect Our Wrecked Democracy from the American Oligarchy?
Mel Goodman
The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”
Chris Floyd
Stumbling Blocks: Tim Kaine and the Bipartisan Abettors of Atrocity
Eric Draitser
The Political Repression of the Radical Left in Crimea
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Threatens Wider War Against the Kurds
John Steppling
It is Us
Thomas Knapp
Death Penalty for Drug Dealers? Be Careful What You Wish for, President Trump
Manuel García, Jr.
Why I Am a Leftist (Vietnam War)
Isaac Christiansen
A Left Critique of Russiagate
Howard Gregory
The Unemployment Rate is an Inadequate Reporter of U.S. Economic Health
Ramzy Baroud
Who Wants to Kill Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah?
Roy Morrison
Trouble Ahead: The Trump Administration at Home and Abroad
Roger Hayden
Too Many Dead Grizzlies
George Wuerthner
The Lessons of the Battle to Save the Ancient Forests of French Pete
Binoy Kampmark
Fictional Free Trade and Permanent Protectionism: Donald Trump’s Economic Orthodoxy
Rivera Sun
Think Outside the Protest Box
March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
John Pilger
Skripal Case: a Carefully-Constructed Drama?
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography