Saturday, July 29, 2006

A-A talk nukes

Amar: I think India should denuclearize if Pakistan will reciprocate. I don't want to see India a land where horizon is marked with mushroom clouds. Rather the Chinese take northeast than Delhi and Bombay become no man's land.

Anthony: Nukes are deterrents. It was nukes that prevented an Indian thrust to Lahore in 1999 or a retaliatory strike in Pak Kashmir in 2002. Pakistan will never denuclearize, so India should not even think about it. India should try to sign a deal that limits arms race. This would give Indian planners better idea of what Pakistan has.

Amar: All it takes is one guy with a finger on a trigger who doesn't think nukes are deterrents. Nukes aren't deterrents. They are whatever you make of them.

Anthony: One can argue about whether India should have nuclearized in the first place. But having a bomb is like losing your virginity. Once you've done it, things are never the same again. In any case, suppose you force Pakistan to sign a denuclearization deal. Who guarantees that Pakistan plays ball? It's in their interest to cheat. If they cheat then you should cheat too — old prisoner's dilemma. Much better to have all the cards out in the open.

Amar: More nukes can't stop a mad man with a nuke. Yes, can't trust Pakistani generals, sure. But that is more a question of mechanism to achieve and monitor effective and maintained denuclearization than agreement to the idea.

Anthony: In a nuclearized world you can’t stop mad men with nukes anyway. Even if Pakistan didn’t have bombs, real crazies could get it from North Korea, or black markets in Russia. So it’s something you live with, and denuclearization won’t help you there. It will however make you vulnerable to Pakistani nuclear blackmail.