Emphasis Added: The Foreign Policy Week in Pieces (3/19)

U.S. Concerns About Security Only Makes Pakistan More Insecure

“When the U.S. says that they are worried about the security [of] Pakistan’s nuclear arms, it means it fears that these might fall in the hands of such elements as the extremist Taliban,” said a commentary published by Pakistan’s Frontier Post in late 2011. “However, when [former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood] Qureshi says so, he means that these are in danger of being whisked away by the U.S. armed forces.”

Why Almost Nobody Likes News About Pakistani Nuclear Security, Elaine M. Grossman, National Journal

The Lone Gunman

The catalyst for changing course was the shattering defeat Pakistan suffered at the hands of the Indian army in the 1971 war, during which Pakistan lost half of its territory (when East Pakistan broke away to become Bangladesh). Khan argues that a sense of “never again” and a corresponding inability (or unwillingness) to rely upon allies have been powerful motivators for some countries to “go nuclear,” most notably China and Israel. The same held true for Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Nuclear Past as Prologue, Frank Klotz, The National Interest

Wasting Human Resources (Off-Topic From Foreign Policy)

There was a time when academia was society’s refuge for the eccentric, brilliant, and impractical. No longer. It is now the domain of professional self-marketers. As a result, in one of the most bizarre fits of social self-destructiveness in history, we seem to have decided we have no place for our eccentric, brilliant, and impractical citizens. Most languish in their mothers’ basements, at best making the occasional, acute intervention on the Internet.

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit, David Graeber, The Baffler

Nuclear Whac-a-mole

The Air Force wants to upgrade its aging nuclear missiles and the hundreds of underground silos that hold them. One idea it’s exploring: the construction of a sprawling network of underground subway tunnels to shuttle the missiles around like a mobile doomsday train. … During an atomic holocaust, mobile missiles are harder for an adversary to target than a static silo. Missiles could be positioned at launch holes placed at “regular intervals” along the length of the tunnels.

That’s No Train! Air Force Eyes Subway for Nuclear Missiles, Robert Beckhusen, Wired Danger Room

Cost of One B-29: $605,360; Cost of One B-2 Stealth Bomber: $1.5 billion

… I just always was baffled by the debates over health care which always started with the premise that everything costs a zillion dollars and it’s super expensive. … If you slip and fall and you go to the emergency room, it’s $25,000. The debate was over who should pay for it instead of, “How come it’s $25,000?”

… In something like the giant Lockheed planes, the debate is should we spend, what is it, $400 billion? … Why does each of those planes cost that much money? … What percent of that is profit for Lockheed Martin? Who died and said they have to get a seven percent carry on all their hours, and all their parts, and all their labor? Why?

Podcast: Steve Brill on Healthcare and the Media in America, Mike Webb, Pro Publica

U.S. Policy in Afghanistan a Study in Avoiding the Obvious

Concretely and consistently confronting the Pakistani leadership on its use of extremist proxies, or President Karzai on the criminally extractive nature [aka, corruption -- RW] of his government — and not just in occasional spurts of public huffing and puffing — would have taken a significant investment of political courage and fortitude. And those are attributes that I did not see much in evidence among senior U.S. civilian officials.

What Vali Nasr Gets Wrong, Sarah Chayes, Foreign Policy