The Idiom

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

For the "That Makes Us Feel Better File"

Investigators have apparently uncovered documents from the AQ Khan ring (see The Nuclear Jihadist for an excellent history) that demonstrate that Khan was in the business of selling much more advanced weapons designs that previously thought.

The plans appear to closely resemble a nuclear weapon that was built by Pakistan and first tested exactly a decade ago. But when confronted with the design by officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency last year, Pakistani officials insisted that Dr. Khan, who has been lobbying in recent months to be released from the loose house arrest that he has been under since 2004, did not have access to Pakistan’s weapons designs.

From which we can put together two very important conclusions:

1) Someone needs to put a bullet into Dr. Khan's head - because he is going to be released. His "incarceration" is already a joke. And it must be demonstrated that his business of nuclear proliferation is an extremely dangerous one for those involved.

2) The proliferation genie is out of the bottle. And it is pointless to continue to play defense. Aggressive investigations, prosecutions and containment will of course need to be integral parts of the strategy. But playing defense alone is a losing proposition. We have to be changing intentions along with capabilities.

In the Realist model, intentions of states (or other actors) are irrelevant. Only capabilities matter. But ultimately, that's poppycock.

Kid Various has his issues with the French, but he doesn't lose sleep at night because France has the bomb. The customers at AQ Khans nuclear Wal-Mart, however, scare the crap out of him.

But we are not going to indefinitely be able to limit the Enemy's capability. Given that as a truism - if we are to remain secure - we must change his intentions.

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