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31 January 2011

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charlie

You could argue a lot of the India-Israel cooperation is being geared towards Pakistan and nuclear issues. India has some weird cell phone intercept stuff going on, and it probably is not home-grown.

Pakistan delivery systems are also very suspect.

Makes Jeffery Goldberg look like even more of his idiot for the article last year on Iran's nuclear threat (existential threat). I suspect the Isrealis realize the Pakis aren't dumb enough to use their weapons, and the chances of the terrorists getting it are less than predicted.

CK

In all the maps of Greater Israel that I have seen, I have never seen any part of Pakistan included.

William R. Cumming

My guess is that the Israeli Government has had Pakistani specific targeting info passed to them courtesy of the US and courtesy of INDIA. Oddly retargeting controls often exist on NUCLEAR WEAPONS and some take considerable time. Just a guess!

Patrick Lang

WRC

Nonsense. You think the Pakistanis would give us that? Why? pl

Patrick Lang

charlie

If you had a different pakistan government? Why would it be crazy? There would be no Israel in the aftermath. pl

CK

What governments won't "give" can be purchased from employees of said government. Jonathan Pollard comes to mind, fairly certain that there are Pollard equivalents available in most countries.
Sex. money, embarassment, grievance, religion they have worked for millenia.

PirateLaddie

Dr. Freud would have a lot to say about this hang-up on missile delivery. Anybody with a lick of sense would send Israel a gift via freighter, or half a dozen vessels at once, containerized and shielded.
Besides, I really believe there's enough Israeli penetration of the Paki program as well as the nuke boys in the Army -- just based on a history of paying attention to crucial inflection points in states they view as potentially useful or bothersome -- to make sure these vessels were lost at sea or docked at Jeddah.

Jose

CK - The Pashtuns claim to be one of the lost tribes of Israel, so maybe we will see settlements going up soon...lol

FB Ali

Colonel Lang,

You had raised this issue in an earlier thread. My comment then was:

Israel probably has assurances from the US, including the promise to alert them if they feel any change occurring in the situation. Apart from policy and political trends in Pakistan, the US probably closely monitors changes in nuclear posture.

Israel’s stance would alter drastically should there be a change in Pakistan’s policy control structure. Israel probably already has contingency plans with both the US and India to deal with an altered threat level from Pakistan. Such a change in orientation would threaten both these countries in addition to Israel, and it is likely they would try to contain or deal with it on a joint basis.

It is probably such reassurance that enables Israel to ignore Pakistan’s current capability while dealing with Iran’s future capability.

By the "change in Pakistan's policy control structure" I meant an Islamist government coming into power. However, even then I cannot see Pakistan using its nuclear weapons against Israel, since this would denude it of its deterrent against India. This would remain the top defence policy objective of such a government.

Patrick Lang

FB Ali

Well, I admit that freighters are as possibility, but Israel only has two possible counter-value target complexes; Tel Aviv and Haifa. With these numbers of weapons available I doubt if an effort against them would seriously compromise Pakistan's deterrent against India. But, maybe I am being too cold bloodedly logical in this? pl

FB Ali

Col Lang,

You are right about the numbers needed for Israel being insignificant. But what about all the other blowback, especially from the US?

Of course, that wouldn't matter to 'wild-eyed fanatics', but they don't have a chance of seizing power in Pakistan. The Islamists who do are likely to be quite rational about such decisions.

Patrick Lang

FB Ali

I accept your judgment about intentions but I always deal with capabilities first. pl

charlie

Plang; I tend to agree with FBALi; the idea that the crazies are taking over Pakistan is just a threat by the military to blow out their own brains. It works -- Pakistan gets more money (cash) from the US Military than India earns in outsourcing.

Another point. We really don't know if the Pakis have a missile package or how good the guidance is. We can at least assume it isn't tested, and they would not want the Indians know how poor it might perform.

Even if they have 100 "bombs" which sounds way high, how many missiles do they have?

William R. Cumming

PL! Despite the creation of nuclear weapons as being for tactical use they are in fact "strategic" weapons and their strategic use is in certain kinds of targeting that only make sense if pretty much known to opponents for purposes of deterrance. This is not my theory but that of all leading nuclear strategist. That is the problem Britain and France have with their nuclear deterrance. If they pretend they are a deterrant not just a revenge weapon they probably make no strategic or tactical sense. Expect them to give up their nukes in next two decades.

Retired (once-Serving)Patriot

@Charlie, the Pakistanis do have a missile package in the long MRBM range. Its a package that works. When they start to tackle the IRBMs, I expect they'll be able to scale up with much less trouble than either Iran or DPRK is having. When the payload is unconventional, the guidance does not have to be precise.

RP

Patrick Lang

WRC

You underestimate human capacity for folly. pl

Neil Richardson

WRC:

"Despite the creation of nuclear weapons as being for tactical use they are in fact "strategic" weapons and their strategic use is in certain kinds of targeting that only make sense if pretty much known to opponents for purposes of deterrance. This is not my theory but that of all leading nuclear strategist. That is the problem Britain and France have with their nuclear deterrance. If they pretend they are a deterrant not just a revenge weapon they probably make no strategic or tactical sense. Expect them to give up their nukes in next two decades."

Well I'm not sure if that's entirely true. The main reason why De Gaulle insisted on the Force de Frappe (aside from international prestige) was the question of "decoupling" in terms of extended deterrence. De Gaulle openly questioned whether or not a President of the United States would order the Strategic Air Command to strike a "comparable" Soviet countervalue target if an ally were attacked by the Soviet Union. Simply, would the US strike Moscow in retaliation for a strike against Paris or even London? The question of decoupling emerged once it was assumed that the Soviets were going to achieve survivable second strike capability in the 1960s. Since escalation management is mostly psychological, it was reasonable for De Gaulle to wonder openly whether *every* US president would possess the necessary resolve to defend US allies. There was little doubt French and British political leadership would retaliate in-kind. There was some question whether the US would trade New York for Paris.

As for tactical nuclear weapons, I agree that a general nuclear "firebreak" thankfully exists in the minds of political leaders thus far. (We'll have to see whether the Israelis are part of this "fraternity.") However the primary reason for TNWs was the operational challenge of trying to stop massive Soviet armored thrusts along the traditional invasion corridors at the Inner German Border. In fact that was the purpose of enhanced radiation weapons despite the Soviets' propaganda efforts in Western Europe in the 70s and 80s. (IIRC they called them capitalist nuclear weapons) In fact the Pentomic division structure reflected the thinking at the time. Until the 1980s there just wasn't enough confidence that the NATO could stop a Warsaw Pact invasion. That was the reason why the nuclear strategists tried to create a "cheaper" alternative to maintaining deterrence through an artificial firebreak within the categories of nuclear weapons.

As for denuclearization, I'd be shocked if any of the current states do so. In fact I believe we live in "interesting times" when more states will actively consider proliferation. South Africa was very unique in that they faced no regional threat at the time (we'll have to see whether they continue to feel this way as China increases its foothold in Africa thirty years from now). Speaking of China, I have to compliment the PLA on its dedication to defend PRC nationals everywhere. They deployed an armored task force in Rason presumably to protect Chinese gamblers (estimated to be between ten to thirty).

http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/01/17/2011011700465.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/26/north-korea-rason-beyond-capital

Charles I

Pat, we've had cited here somewhere long ago the 4 German cruise missile subs Israel has, surely the standing order is to take out a few capitals, including the likely suspects, which one assumes is determinable

charlie

@Retired; I don't doubt the Pakis have the missiles; what I am questioning is the numbers, accuracy and reliability of the missile. Also their ability to create a nuclear payload that works.

Yep, it doesn't have to be precise when dealing with India. With a further target, I'd say yes. Can GPS guidance be disrupted -- US would have 15 minutes or so to turn off GPS worldwide. Can that be done?

William R. Cumming

Paul Bracken's book entitled "Fire In THe East" gives the best rationale for Islamic nukes.
And PL is correct never underestimate foolishness by mankind. That stated the high level nuke war theorists ultimately reached a conscensus that those with the most weapons after the nuclear war ended won the war. If that paradigm is correct conducting an analysis of Pakistan thinking of how to employ its nukes outside of deterrance against INDIA presents a high degree of difficulty as some might say. Even the Soviets and US came down to worrying about the "warning shot" scenario--or taking out one city! Then of course decapitation of the opponents leadership was thought to be absurd because you needed the leadership to stop the war. The beat goes on. The Israelis are the only nation apparently adopting the Gotterdaerung philosophy of the NAZIs. You may lose but take as many as you can with you this time. Like the JIHADIS threatening suicidal strikes or counterstrikes. Yes that confirms PL's theory of mankind's foolishness.

Fred

Given GWB's actions on 9-11, not just the 7 miniutes in the school room but the 18 hours to get back to D.C. - and Cheney's actions, one really needs to consider what would happen if an atomic bomb actually went off in a city anywhere. Hopefully the command structures and proceedures in place, both in the US and elsewhere, as well as the selection of actual (field) commanders would prevent local commanders from shooting first and getting the facts later.

Neil Richardson

"Yep, it doesn't have to be precise when dealing with India. With a further target, I'd say yes. Can GPS guidance be disrupted -- US would have 15 minutes or so to turn off GPS worldwide. Can that be done?"

Why couldn't the Pakistanis use GLONASS now or even Beidou in ten years? Would the US have sufficient time to execute a shutdown in case of a launch detection (either through prior agreement with others or active measures)? I doubt the United States would want to initiate an ASAT warfare given our dependence.

FB Ali

Theodore Lewis,

I presume you are referring to the 1973 Attock trial. If so, the answer is: Yes, it has affected the present.

The direct (and intended) effect of the trial was to send quite a number of excellent army officers to prison for several years. But, as we all find out some time or other, one cannot confine the results of our actions only to our desired outcomes; each act sets in motion a chain of events that can cause all sorts of unintended consequences.

In this case, ZA Bhutto’s action of setting up the trial resulted some years later in his losing his life at the end of a hangman’s noose. It enabled Gen Zia ul Haq to become President of Pakistan, and he (with the assistance of the USA and Saudi Arabia) let loose the genie of fundamentalism in the country and the region. The world now has to deal with that unintended consequence of Attock.

Many years ago I wrote a magazine article about the trial and connected events. I could have emailed a copy to you, but I can’t find a relevant address at the website you indicate.

WILL

GPS for ballistic missles? Why?

"Overview

An inertial navigation system includes at least a computer and a platform or module containing accelerometers, gyroscopes, or other motion-sensing devices. The INS is initially provided with its position and velocity from another source (a human operator, a GPS satellite receiver, etc.), and thereafter computes its own updated position and velocity by integrating information received from the motion sensors. The advantage of an INS is that it requires no external references in order to determine its position, orientation, or velocity once it has been initialized."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inertial_navigation_system

William R. Cumming

The whole point of my comments on this thread was to focus on the question--OK you have NUKES, now how do you use them?

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