Diplomacy by toast

2017-07-13

in Bombs and rockets, History, Language, Politics

In another attempt to dissuade Pakistan from its nuclear path, Kissinger visited Pakistan in August 1976. At the same time, U.S. elections were sparking debates, and Democrat Jimmy Carter’s agenda specifically targeted Kissinger and his relaxed response to India’s nuclear test. As Dennis Kux writes, “Kissinger and Ford were under pressure to demonstrate that they were doing everything possible to prevent Pakistan from continuing its efforts to match India’s nuclear capability.”

Thus Kissinger’s second trip to Pakistan was an attempt to remedy his mistakes. He arrived with an offer of 110 A-7 attack bombers for the Pakistani Air force in exchange for canceling the reprocessing plant purchase [from France], indicating that Congress would most likely approve such a deal. And as a stick, he brandished a possible Democratic victory, hinting that when in power, Carter would certainly make an example of Pakistan. Since that meeting, the popular myth in Pakistan has been that Kissinger threatened Bhutto with “a horrible example,” meant as an ultimatum.

At an official dinner in the city of Lahore, Kissinger and Bhutto engaged in nuclear banter in the midst of toasts. Raising his glass, Bhutto declared, “[Lahore] is our reprocessing center and we cannot in any way curb the reprocessing center of Pakistan.” When Kissinger’s turn for the toast came, he replied, “All governments must constantly ‘reprocess’ themselves and decide what is worth reprocessing.”

Khan, Feroz Hassan. Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb. Stanford University Press; Stanford. 2012. p. 136-7

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Oleh July 14, 2017 at 10:16 am

It is interesting to see how past situations parallel present ones. There is the phrase if history repeating itself.

alena July 15, 2017 at 2:34 pm

A decade earlier, all types of military and other support was given to Pakistan to create a “zone of influence” for the US.

Milan July 16, 2017 at 3:44 pm

The book talks at length about the backs-and-forths of US military aid to Pakistan, including how it shifted in response to domestic Pakistani developments like military coups and geopolitical shifts like changing regimes in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Oleh August 1, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Just imagine what good could be done to help the people of the world if the governments of the world committed to and acted on reducing military spending by 50% -,or even if we could start at 25%. I would whole heartedly support that initiative.

Milan August 2, 2017 at 1:58 pm

Arms races are particularly wasteful, in part because it’s so self-evident that everyone is actually worse off after the money has been spent. This is particularly true for nuclear arms races since:

1) Nuclear arms manufacture is costly and environmentally damaging

2) Larger nuclear arsenals increase the potential severity of nuclear war

3) Larger nuclear arsenals increase the risk of accidents (like the 1980 Damascus explosion), as well as unauthorized or accidental nuclear detonations

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