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from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Zardari says ready to commit to no first use of nuclear weapons

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Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari says he would be ready to commit to a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons, in what would be a dramatic overturning of Pakistan's nuclear policy. Pakistan has traditionally seen its nuclear weapons as neutralising Indian superiority in conventional warfare, and refused to follow India's example of declaring a no first use policy after both countries conducted nuclear tests in 1998.

Zardari was speaking via satellite from Islamabad to a conference organised by the Hindustan Times when he was asked whether he was willing to make an assurance that Pakistan would not be the first to use nuclear weapons.

"Most certainly," the newspaper quoted him as saying.  "I can assure you that Pakistan will not be the first country ever to use (nuclear weapons). I hope that things never come to a stage where we have to even think about using nuclear weapons (against India). Personally, I have always been against the very concept of nuclear weapons," he said.

So what is the Pakistan Army going to make of that? It has always seen itself as the ultimate guarantor of Pakistan's survival, and nuclear weapons are an essential part of the country's arsenal should its very  existence come under threat.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

It’s coming, I can see the nuclear glow!

The actual caption for this news photo says this officer is "guarding the railroad track..." I am not making this up.

Now, I hate to criticize the practices of a police force, but I'm not sure his position is considered the very best for guarding tracks. If you've ever seen a Looney Tunes cartoon, you can pretty much see this one coming.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan, India and the rise and/or fall of the nation state

When the British left India in 1947, they bequeathed what was arguably a European notion of the nation state on a region for which the very concept was alien. I say "arguably" because anything one writes about Partition or the nation state is open to dispute. And until the financial crisis, I relegated this argument to the realm of historians -- a subject that interested me personally, but did not seem relevant today.

That was until I noticed a new debate bubbling up on the internet about the future of the nation state. Will it become more powerful as countries scramble to protect themselves from the financial crisis as George Friedman at Stratfor argues in this article?  Or does the need for global solutions to the crisis sound a death knell for the nation state, as John Robb suggests here?

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India, Japan in security pact; a new architecture for Asia?

While much of the media attention during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Japan this week was focused on a free trade deal the two sides failed to agree on, another pact that could have even greater consequences for the region was quietly pushed through.

This was a security cooperation agreement under which India and  Japan, once on opposite sides of the Cold War, will hold military exercises, police the Indian Ocean and conduct military-to-military exchanges on fighting terrorism.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Is Pakistan’s war against militants India’s too?

Time was when every time militants set off a bomb in Pakistan, India's strategic establishment would turn around and say "we told you so". This is what happens when you play with fire ... jihad is a double-edged sword, they would say, pointing to Pakistan's support for militants operating in Kashmir and elsewhere.k2.jpg

Not any more. When India's opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party -- which has consistently advocated a tougher policy toward Pakistan -- tells the government to be watchful of the fallout of the security and economic situation in Pakistan, then you know the ground is starting to shift.    

from Oddly Enough Blog:

What’s the danged deal on this thing, anyway?

Blog Guy, I rely on you for most of my news on international relations.

That's probably not a great idea.

bush-signing-face-160.jpgAnyway, I saw today that President Bush just signed something called the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act. What in the heck is that about?

Well, simplified, it's an act designed to enhance the nuclear approval of non-proliferation cooperation between the U.S. and India...

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

India-US celebrate nuclear deal;China, Pakistan ask questions

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice  will be in New Delhi this weekend to celebrate a hard-fought nuclear deal that to its critics strikes at the heart of the global non-proliferation regime by allowing India access to nuclear technology despite its refusal to sign the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT)  and give up a weapons programme.

China and Pakistan are not amused although both stepped aside as they watched an unstoppable Bush administration push the deal through the International Atomic Energy Agency and then the Nuclear Suppliers Group in one of its few foreign policy successes.

from FaithWorld:

Should religious groups talk to Iranian president?

ahmadinejad-waves.jpgA rabbi, a Mennonite and a Zoroastrian priest were having dinner with the president of Iran -- sounds like the start of a joke, but it happened in New York this week.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had dinner with around 200 people of various faiths including Mennonites, Quakers, United Methodists, Jews and Zoroastrians who said they wanted to promote peace by meeting such a prominent foe of the United States.  You can read our story about the meeting here.

from Global News Journal:

Poland to Russia: Please keep the nuke threats to a minimum

sikorsky1.jpgPolish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski would appreciate it if Russia would stop threatening his country with nuclear annihilation -- or at least limit its threats to once a month.

"It is not a friendly thing to do, and we have asked them to do it no more than once a month. But as the Atlantic alliance we have nukes too," Sikorski told an audience at Columbia University this week.

from Global News Journal:

Big Bang experiment – the end of the world as we know it?

Scientists said they simply didn't know what surprises might emerge when they started up the Large Hadron Collider, the world's biggest and most complex machine which until Wednesday lay benignly in its underground home on the outskirts of Geneva. 
                                                    Scientists look at a computer screen at the control centre of the CERN in Geneva September 10, 2008. Scientists at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) started up a huge particle-smashing machine on Wednesday, aiming to re-enact the conditions of the “Big Bang” that created the universe. REUTERS/Fabrice Coffrini/Pool (SWITZERLAND)                                                        
Perhaps crashing together millions of particles at close to the speed of light would replicate the conditions just after the Big Bang that created the universe.           

Perhaps the high-energy collisions, which will generate temperatures more than 100,000 times than the heart
of the sun, would lay to rest an unproven theory of physics.

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