It’s public knowledge that the United States has helped Pakistan secure its nuclear complex in the past, but Senator Clinton’s proposal at the Democratic debate on Sunday is by far the most ambitious yet. She said she would try to get Musharraf to share the security responsibility of the nuclear weapons with a delegation from the United States and perhaps Great Britain so that there is some failsafe.
I really like how bold this proposal is, and applaud Senator Clinton for thinking outside the box. But this proposal is a bit too far outside the box.
First, there is simply no way Pakistan would ever agree to it.
Second, it would complicate both U.S.-Indian relations and deterrence on the subcontinent. My eyes cross when I begin to think about the implications of an American/British failsafe in the context of a Pakistani-Indian nuclear standoff.
Third, it would violate the NPT. Article I of the NPT requires nuclear-weapon States like America to not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons. Under the NPT, Pakistan is a non-nuclear weapon State.
As our hero Jeffrey noted in a November 2007 entry, the United States refused PALs to Pakistan because of concerns about Article I. If transfer of PALs would violate the NPT, surely Senator Clinton’s proposal for a far more intimate, intrusive nuclear relationship involving some measure of active American and British command and control would as well.
Kudos to Senator Clinton for thinking big, but this proposal is misguided.