• 042-35941921, UAN: 03-111-999-101
  • info@kipscss.net

Larry Pressler's Broadside against Pakistan

  • Jamal Hussain
  • Jan, 2018
  • 398
  • International

Is Pressler really blind to the numerous major contradictions in the Indian democracy? Keeping in view the narrative of Narendra Modi-repression of minorities, rise of Hindu nationalism, massacre of innocent Kashmiris and over two dozen large and small scale insurgencies, it is not easy to let go Indian democracy contradictions

Larry Pressler, the former three times US senator from South Dakota is in the news again, painting nuclear Pakistan as a threat to the current world order. Pakistanis remember the Amendment bearing his name (Pressler Amendment) that provided a window for the Americans to funnel economic and military aid to Pakistan bypassing the Symington and Glen Amendments (1976, 1977) that banned USA from any economic or military assistance to a country suspected of manufacturing nuclear bombs. The Pressler Amendment incorporated in 1985 stated that “no military or technology equipment to be provided to Pakistan unless the US President certified that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear device and that the assistance provided by America would reduce significantly the risk that Pakistan will possess a nuclear explosive device.”  (Rabia Akhtar Dawn May 29, 2017).

Pressler’s latest book “Neighbours in Arms” published by Random House India Private Limited has been released in March 2017. In the book he has tried to portray his efforts in trying to prevent Pakistan from becoming a nuclear power; reality, however, is the reverse—his amendment allowed the US Presidents to resume aid to Pakistan even when it was an open secret the country was rapidly progressing towards nuclearization. It allowed the US administration to put Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme on the backburner to pursue its immediate short-term objectives in Afghanistan. The fact a three times US senator who also served two terms in the House of Representative had to find an Indian publisher for his book, speaks for itself.

In a recent interview with Indian journalists he lambasted Pakistan and viewed India as a paragon of democracy. He even urged India and the US to launch strikes on Pakistan’s nuclear sites. (Varibhav Purandarel, Sept 26, 2017). Is Pressler really blind to the numerous major contradictions in the Indian democracy? Keeping in view the narrative of Narendra Modi—repression of minorities, rise of Hindu nationalism, massacre of innocent Kashmiris and over two dozen large and small scale insurgencies, it is not easy to let go Indian democracy contradictions. However, it remains to be seen if there are some other factors in play.

The Pressler Amendment:  a Reality Check

The Pressler Amendment was considered necessary as a payment to Pakistan for enlisting their support to evict the Soviet forces from Afghanistan. Since Pakistan was suspected of working towards a nuclear bomb, the Symington and Glen Amendments made it nearly impossible for USA to furnish any aid to the country. Pakistan’s refusal in private to back down from its nuclear programme was a dilemma that Larry Pressler and his partner resolved by having their Amendment passed. Since Pakistan in 1985 had not yet assembled a working nuclear bomb, the US President could honestly certify that it did not possess a nuclear device, hence financial and military aid demanded by Pakistan could be disbursed.

The US President Ronald Reagan and his successor George H. Bush continued to provide the certificate from 1986 to 1989. By the end of 1985 Pakistan had actually crossed the nuclear threshold and was known to have manufactured the bomb. The American CIA was aware of this development but perhaps as a matter of state policy the Presidents with mutual consent were deliberately not provided this Intel officially so that they could if required testify under oath that they had given the clearance certificates in good faith. This shenanigan is referred to as “plausible deniability” strategy.

Both Ronald Reagan and Bush (Senior) continued to certify Pakistan’s non possession of nuclear bombs until 1989. By 1990, the American objectives in Afghanistan had been achieved once the Soviet forces were forced to withdraw. Pakistan’s support was no longer required and following the Machiavellian philosophy, President Bush (41) refused to provide the certification and promptly the Pressler Amendment was invoked. Pakistan as an ally was dumped, all assistance was ceased with immediate effect and fresh sanctions were imposed.

History of Nuclear Weapons Accidents (Broken Arrows)

Larry Pressler considers Pakistan not mature enough and incapable of safely handling a nuclear arsenal. A case study of the history of safety and proliferation records of nuclear weapons of Pakistan and USA should be an eye opener for the retired senator...

Share on facebook or twitter

Email to a friend