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Friday, June 17, 2016

Imploding Pakistan - How will the splinters injure?



Imploding Pakistan – How will the splinters injure?

Alvin Toffler wrote in his bestseller Powershift:Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century about three forms of power. The power initially was with those who could gather more ability to destroy others through military means, especially in the ancient feudal system.  He then said as industrialization emerged – more flexible form of power in terms of wealth/money – the merchants became more prevalent. Interestingly, money can buy violence. In the “third wave” – the information based world, knowledge became the key ingredient of power. With knowledge one can control and buy money and violence. 

Pakistan and it's ideology of extreme radicalization through religious identity has stayed in the first era and form of power. Power is assumed to lie with ability to inflict violence – as the society continues by- and-large to be feudal. As the capability of violence is curtailed the violence targets are shifted to most unguarded to those that give most terror value. The violence with the terror value based on killing children is inherent in the ideology that Pakistan has built itself on – because the doctrine of feudal scripts on which the religion emerged was based on a single – my way or high way path. Three recent terror incidents in Pakistan have targeted children in school, university and parks. The question being asked now is, “Why have Pakistan’s children come in the line of fire?” (please see the article in Dawn )

Peace pieces in Pakistan
Sometimes back, one of my Facebook friends wrote his recommendations for peace in Pakistan. He lives in US and Pakistan alternatively. His three recommendations are (I am including below the key message)

1. It is about redistribution of resources - A detente of sorts is needed between USA and China that involves Russia as well. The superpowers will fight for redistribution of resources through proxy wars. China needs a corridor through Pakistan to reach middle-east. USA will make it more and more difficult. Till some sort of equilibrium is reached it will not be possible to have peace in Pakistan.
2. It is about redistribution of resources (inside Pakistan). Pakistan is an oligarchy - run by a minuscule coterie of people who have amassed great wealth. A new social contract between the state and the people of Pakistan has to be established. The constitution must be amended to fulfill the basic needs of the people. These amendments must address basic issues like creation of a level playing field and diversion of resources towards education, health and job creation as a top priority.
3. Army and Politicians need a viable formula to run the state. Under ideal conditions, the army must be answerable to the civilian authorities but considering the peculiar circumstances prevailing in Pakistan due to both inner and outer compulsions, Pakistan army has been inextricably involved with managing state affairs.

My response was to add some points to the first three. If we have to imagine “peace” in Pakistan what should be changed was my trigger. I came out with following six to add to his three points.

4. Pakistan will have to wriggle out of being the front end state of superpowers for their "experiments in war". This is easier said than done. The problem lies with "deep state" getting so used to being Frontend state since Zia-Ul-Haq’s time, when USSR came to Afghanistan that it is almost impossible to change, unless the reins that deep state has on everything are shattered. They have become so use to easy money from outside, side business in poppy trade and playing the game of the gun that everything else looks like a joke to them.

5. Pakistan should be very serious about changing its Identity. The country has this "Not India" identity artificially imposed on itself. This has once again to be re-done and embedded at the grassroots level. De-link religion from state. That is easier said than done. As with "religious" identity come the easy money from Saudi and other such religious identities. The natural cultural identity of Pakistan, if I may, was to be "like India" not "Not India". It may look strange now, but Pakistan should work towards harmonization of its natural cultural, social, political and governmental identity as "Like India".

6."Cleansing Pakistan" from its 'deep state" will require "cunning foxes" who can outfox the deep state. These cunning foxes should have a more clear national agenda of connecting Pakistan with the world and its natural identities and eliminating all self-imposed artificial identities fueled by outside powers.

7. If the intentions are clear, comprehensive and complete and above all unambiguous, what I see of India today, Pakistan will find its greatest friend in India. China in becoming a superpower that is copying exactly what the sole superpower did so far is going to use Pakistan on its New Silk Road Strategy like the US "Marshall Plan" - a potential result being subjugation of Pakistan to the Chinese momentum in its superpower design.  On Chinese twin silk roads please look at the article at http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/the-chinese-twin-silk-roads-can-india-shake-off-its-lethargy/ and scenario that I painted in 2011 which is increasingly becoming plausible now when China will do a friendly takeover of Pakistan (please see http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/china-takes-pakistan-a-scenario-by-2017-2022/)

8. Robert Axelrod performed an experiment on a specific game theoretic construct called Prisoner's Dilemma. He called the tournament iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. Playing the tournament many times - the results were published in a book of the same name as well. It is interesting to note that the best strategy in a two person game came out to be "Tit for Tat" (TFT). In the long run of many iterations of the game, it seems TFT lead to evolution of Cooperation. It is evident that the “Deep State” continues to pull up a bogey of Indian Threat to arm itself and keep its "control" fangs on the population – Power through the most basic form as per Toffler, i.e., violence. Unfortunately "NOT India" identity on which Pakistan was created has become so ingrained that discourse is on how to destroy India rather than how to build Pakistan. Pakistan will have to change the discourse by recognizing the "elephant in the room".

9. Pakistan has to get out of the irrational nuclear arms race. Discourse and mindset of India in India has shifted to how to build India for many decades now. However, it is now getting enforced with we have to build India and eliminate all or any forces - outside or inside - which will be interested in destroying India. India has not been built to destroy other nations as you would have seen historically. TFT was not used by India for last 40 years or so. However, as we start TFT now, there seems to be jitters in "deep state". How many nuclear bombs are needed has been a remarkable evolutionary spiral of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine till the cold-war superpowers realized the futility of prisoner’s dilemma. Still the relics continue to hold on to huge number of nukes. Pakistan Nuke status was known since 1980s - to make it overt and show the hypocrisy of US and China to being blind to Pak nukes - the Indian nuke tests were conducted in 1998. More nukes that Pakistan makes or more nukes the world has more chances of them escaping to the wrong hands and evil minds (Please see how much risk is increased with every new nuclear weapon Pakistan builds HERE

Hope Pakistani rationality helps to remove the cobwebs of hatred on which Pakistani identity was created, given new fire in 1971 and simmered through Zia Ul Haq's radical Islamification  of Pakistan which gives Kargil adventures of 1999 and series of attacks including 2003 Parliament attack and 2008 Mumbai attack. Hope there are more people to counter the discourse perpetuated by the deep state.

Peace in Pakistan looks a distant dream today, however, as my facebook friend did, there is no harm in imagining it. Hope our dreams of a peaceful world become true. Indeed, that’s what dreams are about – hope!

One of my friends wrote on facebook in response to my 9 points peace pieces in Pakistan, and I quote,

“Tomorrow must never die. Pakistan is a feudal setup even after 68 years. There are 25 feudal families controlling this country. Now ethnic cleansing has started. Is another Bangladesh situation at hand? I fear yes. The Chinese are using this country as a laboratory to test their weapons. NATO has enough on its plate in Europe. India is combining with Iran to bring peace in West Asia, with a new Economic plan. Russia agrees wholeheartedly with this approach to peace. Pakistan is now getting isolated. Will it last?”

What Pakistan will need to escape Implosion?
From the above, it is increasingly becoming clear that a nuclear Pakistan is going to implode if it doesn’t change its path. To change, Pakistan needs an Anti-Zia-ul-haq dictator now. Else the Islamic forces that he had unleashed and uncorked in Pakistan with Saudi petro-dollars, US support as “front-end state” and Chinese military and nuclear hardware, are going to destruct Pakistan into an unimaginable disaster whose reactions and waves are going to hit India and the world in multiple dimensions in much more severity than what is being experienced now. India need to be extremely careful with these mismatching power shifts where violence, money and knowledge are getting entangled in the quest for power by great powers. 

A society that has started feeding its own children as terror value is asking “Why have Pakistan’s children come in the line of fire?”  If the world doesn’t do something soon, it will not be too late before we will be asking “Why our Children are being exploded in parks?” – Because the basic form of Tofflerian power is in the glee that violence provides to the eyes of the fanatics.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Measuring Risk - Pakistani Nukes Escaping to "Funny Fellows"

UPDATE : Now the Indian Defence Review has published a version of this post as well. You can read it HERE




Measuring Risk - Pakistani Nukes Escaping to “Funny Fellows”

Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s ex-President had a mild phrase for the illogical, fanatic, fringe groups including terrorists. He would address them the “funny fellows” – a term that was the most intense rebuke one of our greatest scientists could draft in his soft spoken manner – but it was always an intense rebuke. I am reminded of the phrase “Funny Fellow” as I sift through the details of disgusting Orlando killing in USA.

The horrific Orlando killing has brought the need for tighter gun control law in USA to the fore. The easy availability of assault rifles and automatic weapons definitely increases the probability of random, indiscriminate and unprovoked shootings and the impact of such shootings on the families of unfortunates who lost their lives or were injured is extreme to put it mildly. The measure of Risk is typically defined in terms of probability of an event occurring and the impact/consequences of the occurrence of the event. It is usually a multiplication of these two quantities, hence, Probability x Impact is the basic measure of Risk. To understand the Risks, let us say if Omar Mateen, the Orlando killer, had access to a nuclear weapon, would he have unleashed it on the gay club members, in the hatred of rage that he was feeling or was indoctrinated with? Of course, this is an implausible thought. But let us replace Omar Mateen by ISIS, or any of half-dozen or so terrorist organizations actively propagating heinous acts of senseless killing of innocent people. What is the risk? A terrorist organization having access to nuclear weapons is the type of horrible dreams that may keep security agencies of the world awake all night. One can argue from where these groups will get the technology and the functioning weapon for a nuclear explosion. North Korea can sell for money. However, the obvious source of such a weapon in the hands of terrorists – specifically Islamic terrorists – will indeed be Pakistan.

Pakistani Nukes – A potential source for Islamic terrorists

SIPRI in its latest report on worldwide nuclear weapons estimates Pakistani nuclear weapons to be in the range of 110-130. In 1998 after the Pakistani nuclear tests in response to Indian tests the estimates were that Pakistan may possess and have the fissile material for about 20 Nuclear warheads with a potential yield of 20-30 Kilo Tons of TNT equivalent (usually called 20KT-30KT).  It was assumed that 20-30 nuclear weapons will be sufficient for Pakistan. However, the numbers have gone up 4 times and there is no indication of stopping the maddening spiral of this race. The relentless illogical increase in number of nuclear bombs with Pakistan is becoming riskier with each new nuclear weapon.

A nation state (the Government and the people of the state) has all the right to possess nuclear weapons till the world is not freed of the nuclear weapons - is the key logic that most countries propagated - who were striving to have the ultimate weapon of deterrence. Even today many countries may like to possess nuclear weapons based on the same logic. The non-proliferation logic of Nuclear weapons being horrible in being a danger to humanity as a whole, hence must not be available to every nation state, especially the irresponsible and rouge states, also is valid as it increases the risk of a nuclear incidence. 

The debate of nuclear proliferation in the world continues – however one danger and the risk of nuclear weapons falling in the hands of terrorists, non-state actors and fringe groups – the “funny fellows”, is not only real it is increasing with every new nuclear weapon being developed.  The probability of a nuclear weapon falling in the hands of terrorists – the “funny fellows” is real. However, what is this probability and how one can estimate it, is not very clear.    

Probability of Nukes in Terrorists hands – A Simple Model

Let us assume that the probability (it is always a number between 0 and 1) of each nuke independently escaping to the "funny fellows" is 0.01% and is a constant; let us call it “p”. If Pakistan has 2 nukes the probability that “at least” one of the 2 nukes escape or fall in the hands of “funny fellows” is computed using the following simple calculation. The probability that first nuke does not escape is 1-p, i.e., 99.99%. The probability that second nuke does not escape is also 1-p.  The probability - that neither the first nuke nor the second nuke escapes to the funny fellows - is just the product of two probabilities i.e., (1-p) x (1-p). This comes out to be 99.98%.We are however interested in the probability the at least one nuke escapes to funny fellows. That probability (let us call it E) is E = 1 – (1-p) (1-p). This number for 2 nukes each with p = 0.01% comes out to be (1-99.98%) = 0.02%. 

For 20 Nukes (the year 1998 estimate of potential numbers with Pakistan) the Probability that "at least" one nuke escapes (let us call it E) to the “funny fellows” is simply E= 1- (1-p)^20 is 0.2%. For 110 Nukes this probability jumps to 1.094% and for 130 Nukes it is 1.292 %.  For 150 nukes with Pakistan this probability is 1.489%. Is it fairly acceptable? Can the world live with this probability of at least one nuke escaping to the “funny fellows”.

However, if we double p from 0.01% to 0.02% the value of E changes for 20 Nukes to 0.399%, for 110 Nukes E comes out to be 2.176% and for 130 Nukes it is 2.567%. For 150 Nukes it is 2.956%. We are still less than 5% probability. May be the world can live with that danger. 

If we increase the value of the constant p from 0.01% to say 0.1%, the value of E for 20 Nukes, 110 Nukes, 130 Nukes and 150 Nukes are 1.981%, 10.442%, 12.196%, and 13.936% respectively.  Suddenly it looks more and more risky. In fact, the grave danger is visible in these simple calculations. 

The chart below provides the variation in these probabilities for Nukes 20 to 150 for probability p ranging from 0.01% to 0.1%. The Y axis plots the value of E, i.e., the probability that at least one nuke will escape or reach the terrorists versus the X-axis with the number of nuclear weapons with Pakistan. Different curves are for various values of p, the probability of a nuclear weapon escaping to the hands of terrorists.





If we increase p to 0.2% then we get for 20, 110,130 and 150 number of nukes with Pakistan, the E (i.e., the probability that at least one nuke escaping to Funny fellows) to be 2.925%, 19.766%, 22.915% and 25.946% respectively. 

The numbers for increasing p to 1% becomes extremely difficult to digest the value of E becomes 18.209% for 20 nukes, 66.897% for 110 nukes (lower estimate by SIPRI), 72.925% for 130 nukes (higher estimate by SIPRI) and 77.855% for 150 Nukes with Pakistan. The graph below shows the shift for increasing the value of p to 0.2% and 1%.



 
Increasing Risk

With the probabilities computed above one can see how much has RISK increased from 20 Nukes estimate in 1998 to 130 Nukes in 2016. RISK has a measure typically defined as R = Probability x Impact. If one keeps the impact of a nuclear weapon getting into the hands of terrorist groups as constant, the risk since 1998 (when the estimate of Pakistani nukes was about 20) has increased by 3.5 times in 2016 when Pakistan has about 110-130 Nukes as the probability of at least 1 nuclear bomb reaching the terrorists has increased from around 18% to about 70%. 

Conclusions and Future

One main lesson, if it has to be reiterated again and again, of Orlando killings is that the terrorists indoctrinated to the core by religious fundamentalism and fanaticism, if have easy access to the gravest weapons and means of destruction that mankind has invented, will not be averse to using them against all those deemed enemies or perceived not from faith. Kalam’s “Funny fellows” indeed are becoming not so funny now. With the easy availability of nuclear weapons, just like the easy availability of automatic weapons, these terrorist groups may not be averse to using them anywhere in the world. Since a nuclear weapon has long term impact and a “big” impact, it will be used in a spectacular way. 

The number of nuclear weapons increasing in the vicinity and with the religious supporters of these groups – on both counts Pakistan qualifies - is a sure indication of increasing Risk of a nuclear incidence. Pakistan’s relentless pursuit of increasing the number of nuclear weapons from 20 to 110 has already increased the probability of at least one nuclear bomb escaping to terrorists beyond acceptable limits. The world needs to pressurize Pakistan to not only increase the security of its nuclear weapons but also to cut-back on the numbers which have gone way beyond any reasonable assessment of deterrence logic. In the tunnel vision of this relentless maddening increase of its nukes in perhaps one of the most terrorist infested region of the world, not only Pakistan, but the world is itself calling for its demise. And the cost of an Omar Mateer with a Pakistani nuke will be much more than a debate about gun-control laws.  

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