News



DATE=5/28/98
TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
NUMBER=5-40524
TITLE=PAKISTAN NUCLEAR-DIPLOMACY
BYLINE=GIL BUTLER
DATELINE=WASHINGTON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  DESPITE TWO WEEKS OF INTENSE INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC 
EFFORTS, PAKISTAN WENT AHEAD WITH NUCLEAR TESTS THURSDAY.  VOA 
CORRESPONDENT GIL BUTLER HAS A BACKGROUND REPORT ON THE DIPLOMACY
THAT FAILED.

TEXT:  PRESIDENT CLINTON MADE A MIDNIGHT TELEPHONE CALL TO 
PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER NAWAZ SHARIF ASKING FOR RESTRAINT.  THE 
U-S STATE DEPARTMENT DESCRIBED AN EFFORT THAT INVOLVED HIGH LEVEL
DISCUSSIONS CENTERING ON THE HIGH COST TO PAKISTAN IF IT RESUMED 
TESTING AND THE ADVANTAGES IF IT AVOIDED NUCLEAR TESTS.  CHINA--A
CLOSE ALLY-- ASSURED A VISITING PAKISTANI FOREIGN MINISTRY 
OFFICIAL IN BEIJING OF CHINA'S CONTINUED FRIENDSHIP IN ITS TENSE 
RELATIONSHIP WITH INDIA.

BUT IN THE END, PAKISTAN ANNOUNCED IT HAD SET OFF FIVE NUCLEAR 
EXPLOSIONS.  THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WAS LEFT DEPORING THE 
DANGER OF A NUCLEAR ARMS RACE IN SOUTH ASIA.

WHY DID THE DIPLOMATIC EFFORT FAIL?

                       /// CRONIN ACT ///

         THERE WERE THREE REASONS.

                         /// END ACT ///

PATRICK CRONIN OF THE WASHINGTON-BASED UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF
PEACE.

                       /// CRONIN ACT ///

         FIRST, THE STRATEGIC CALCULATIONS OF PAKISTAN HAVE 
         ALWAYS BEEN THAT THEY'VE HAD TO MATCH WHATEVER INDIA 
         DID. THERE IS SIMPLY A CONVENTIONAL FORCE ASYMMETRY AND 
         THEY FELT THEY WERE GOING TO HAVE TO EQUAL THE INDIAN 
         STEPS.  THE SECOND REASON WAS BECAUSE OF DOMESTIC 
         POLITICS.  AGAIN, THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN OVERWHELMING 
         POLITICAL PRESSURE ON THE PART OF THE PAKISTANI MILITARY
         AND OTHER ELEMENTS IN PAKISTAN INSISTING ON RESPONDING 
         TO INDIA'S ACTIONS.  AND THEN FINALLY.  I THINK THE LACK
         OF INTERNATIONAL INTEREST AND WILL TO DEEPLY PUNISH AND 
         DEEPLY SANCTION INDIA WAS JUST UNIMPRESSIVE FROM THE 
         PAKISTANI POINT OF VIEW.

                        /// END ACT /// 

IVAN ELAND OF THE CATO INSTITUTE, A POLICY RESEARCH ORGANIZATION 
IN WASHINGTON, DOUBTS THAT ANYTHING WOULD HAVE PREVENTED 
PAKISTAN'S TESTING.

                        /// ELAND ACT ///

         I DON'T THINK WE COULD HAVE OFFERED THEM ANY F-16S OR A 
         SECURITY UMBRELLA OR THE THREAT OF ECONOMIC SANCTIONS.  
         I DON'T THINK ANYTHING WOULD HAVE WORKED.  THESE 
         COUNTRIES HAVE BOTH HAD NUCLEAR CAPABILITY FOR A WHILE 
         AND THIS IS JUST AN EXTENSION OF THAT, AN UNDERGROUND 
         TEST.

                         /// END ACT ///

HE RECOMMENDS THAT, INSTEAD OF SANCTIONS, A NEW DIPLOMATIC EFFORT
BE UNDERTAKEN TO TRY TO EASE THE HOSTILE RELATIONS BETWEEN INDIA 
AND PAKISTAN.

ALEX LENNON OF THE WASHINGTON CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND 
INTERNATIONAL STUDIES SAYS THE BIGGEST CONCERN NOW OUGHT TO BE 
THE POSSIBILITY THAT, HAVING CONDUCTED TESTS, INDIA OR PAKISTAN 
MOVE ON TO WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT.

                       /// LENNON ACT ///

         I THINK PRESIDENT CLINTON'S BIGGEST CONCERN SHOULD BE 
         THAT -- ALTHOUGH THE NUCLEAR TESTS ARE SERIOUS -- SHOULD
         STILL BE WHETHER INDIA AND/OR PAKISTAN DECIDE TO 
         WEAPONIZE:  TO ACTUALLY PUT WARHEADS ON MISSILES.  THAT 
         IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION BECAUSE OF THE RISK OF AN 
         ACCIDENT OR MISCALCULATION BY EITHER COUNTRY.

                         /// END ACT ///

UNDER AMERICAN LAW, THE ACQUITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS REQUJIRES 
SANCTIONS BEING IMPOSED.  DEPUTY U-S SECRETARY OF STATE STROBE 
TALBOTT SAID THE PURPOSE OF THE SANCTIONS IS  NOT  TO PUNISH 
INDIA AND PAKISTAN FOR THE SAKE OF PUNISHMENT.

                       /// TALBOTT ACT ///

         THE PURPOSE OF THESE LAWS -- AT LEAST IN THE NEW REALITY
         THAT WE ARE FACED WITH NOW, THAT INDIA AND PAKISTAN HAVE
         BOTH TESTED, IS TO TRY TO INDUCE THESE TWO COUNTRIES TO 
         DO WHAT IS IN THEIR OWN MUTUAL AS WELL AS INDIVIDUAL 
         INTEREST.

                         /// END ACT ///

MR. TALBOTT SAID ONE OF THE LONG RANGE U-S GOALS IS FOR A 
POLITICAL DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES LEADING TO BETTER 
RELATIONS.  THE IMMEDIATE GOAL, HE SAID, IS FOR BOTH TO STOP 
TESTING, SIGN THE TEST BAN TREATY AND JOIN NEGOTIATIONS TO HALT 
THE PRODUCTION OF NUCLEAR MATERIALS. (SIGNED)

NEB/MGB/KL

28-May-98 4:22 PM EDT (2022 UTC)
NNNN

Source: Voice of America
.