A couple of days ago you read this story about Mr. Khan, the Pakistani scientist who admits to providing nuclear secretst to Iran, Lybia and North Korea.
John, a longtime reader writes in to offer another perspective. Please note that John comes from a background steeped in diplomatic service and seems uniquely qualified to speak on this subject. I found his assertions to be very interesting, even if they portray international relations in a cynical light.
Perhaps I can try to make you understand how diplomacy isJohn...thanks for the insights, disillusioning though they may be.
It seems obvious to me that not only the Pakistani government knew this all along, I suspect President Musharraf at the very minimum acquiesced to what Dr. Khan was doing. Musharraf probably intended all along to use this "favor" to North Korea, Iran, and Libya for something in return. It is not unlike like a trade in professional sports for "a player or draft pick to be named later".
In case you are wondering, my father was a diplomat for Taiwan who reached the deputy ambassador rank before he retired. I grew up in Japan where he was mostly stationed, and he had stints in South Korea also. His career spanned from right after the WWII to right about when President Nixon terminated diplomatic relationship with Taiwan and visited China for the first time. I always remembered while lots of Chinese all over the world (except in China of course) were indignation and felt "betrayed" by the US, he always preached to them that this was the logical and reasonable thing for the US to do (he never said it was the RIGHT thing to do).
He oft repeated the following paragraph as I was growing up. It didn't really dawn on me until I was well into my twenties:
"There is basically no such thing as genuine honesty, integrity, loyalty, camaraderie, friendship, partnership, etc., among nation states. The only over-riding consideration is nationalistic interest. Mutual cooperation occurs only when such interest is on balance beneficial and temporarily reciprocal. The art of diplomacy is all about how to get the most out of the other side while successfully and publicly showing yourself as genuinely interested in the other side's well being or to some convenient higher alling."
Cynical perhaps? But it is the reality!
US needs Pakistan as a "partner" on global war on terrorism. Without cooperation rom Pakistan, it will be difficult if not impossible to put an end to Al Queada. Mubarrak needs to be propped up, supported, protected at all costs (almost). So we will do othing nor protest much an as he pardons Dr. Khan, we can only sigh and shrug our shoulders.
Now, what if the Pakistani government and its leader are perhaps misguided or even hiding something from the Pakistani people? If this had happened in the US, we will be talking about congressional hearing, possible treason and trial of Dr. Khan! Well, nother important point you need to be aware of is this notion of Dr. Khan as Pakistan's national hero.
You see, in the third world, anyone enabling his (her) country to join the "nuclear lub" in developing, testing, and owning nuclear weapons is by definition a national hero. Pakistanis and Indians are rather paranoid about having nuclear arms. Dr. Khan has been the most critical scientific mind in this endeavor. So the people of Pakistan will NEVER allow any prosecution of Dr. Khan, no matter how "evil" his acts were in helping North Korea, Libya, and Iran.
Thus, there will be no inquiry on Dr. Khan. The pardon is a neat publicity stunt by Musharaf. Dr. Khan will keep a low profile for a year or two (until Libya and Iran pass the UN inspection). He will also stay far away from North Korea until US, Russia, Japan, North and South Korea resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear armament issue. US will not pursue the Dr. Khan AS LONG AS Pakistan continues to help us out in the hunt for Osama and the elimination of Al Queada.
For the rest of the world, the big boys of the "nuclear club" (UK, Russia, France, China, etc.) won't do anything without the US taking the lead. For those aspiring third world countries, they will always be ready to contact Dr. Khan for his services in the future, with the blessing of the Pakistani government.
You see, while there is some semblance or agreement among many nations for non-proliferation of nuclear arms and technology, there is virtually no such thing as non-proliferation of nuclear arms knowledge. After all, knowledge is power and we all know it, hoard it, and exercises it to our advantage, each and every country.
So next time you hear any country or it's leader describes another country or its leader as a "friend", stop for a moment and think about what does that really mean!!