The U.S., Islamists, and the Nuclear Threat

Zia Mian and Pervez Hoodbhoy in openDemocracy:

In unabashedly imperial language, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who initiated the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan, writes in his book The Grand Chessboard that the US should seek to “prevent collusion and maintain dependence among the vassals, keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together”.

To keep the “barbarians” at bay, Pentagon planners have been charged with the task of assuring American control over every part of the planet…

But there is a downside to this. And the long-term consequences will not be to the advantage of the U.S. because the nuclear monopoly has broken down. There are others who would be nuclear warriors…

The danger of a nuclear conflict with the United States, and the west more broadly, comes not from Muslim states, but from radicalised individuals within these states. After 9/11, Pakistan’s military government insisted that there was no danger of any of its nuclear weapons being taken for a ride by some radical Islamic group, but it didn’t take any chances. Several weapons were reportedly airlifted to various safer, isolated, locations within the country, including the northern mountainous area of Gilgit.

This nervousness was not unjustified — two strongly Islamist generals of the Pakistan army, close associates of General Musharraf, had just been removed. Dissatisfaction within the army on Pakistan’s betrayal of the Taliban was (and is) deep; almost overnight, under intense American pressure, the Pakistan government had disowned its progeny and agreed to wage a war of annihilation against it.