Brain vs brawn

The confluence of the terrorist attack on Madrid’s trains and the American presidential election is pushing the Bush administration further down the wrong road. It is focusing on garden-variety terrorists, especially Al Qaeda, while neglecting the black market in nuclear arms and loose nuclear bombs that terrorists may commandeer. As horrible as the September 11 and March 11 attacks were, the deaths that would result from the use of nuclear arms by ultras would be much worse.

The first priority ought to be given to curbing the trade in such weapons, removing them from the arsenals of rogue states, and guarding them much more closely elsewhere. But that is not what the United States and its allies are doing. The attacks on Madrid were also a reminder that two and half years after the September 11 attacks, we are still far from extinguishing Al Qaeda. Nowhere is this misguided focus on terrorism more apparent than in Pakistan.

Yet, at the same time, US has been relatively silent about the admission by Pakistan’s former chief nuclear scientist, A Q Khan, that he sold nuclear designs and material to Libya and North Korea. The international community needs to work to resolve the Indian-Pakistani conflict and to guarantee the border between these nations so that Pakistan will feel less of a need for a nuclear deterrent. — International Herald Tribune