President Bush named three countries to the “Axis of Evil”: Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. We invaded Iraq, which turned out not to have WMD. Now North Korea appears to have moved to a safer color, maybe yellow, on the threat level chart, certainly if you ask China how it ranks, while for America, Iran has jumped to Code Red “Severe.” And there’s another country that has been very bad, but seldom gets mentioned — Pakistan.
It’s not clear that this is the correct priority. It seems likely that North Korea actually has nuclear weapons, although nobody in the West knows for sure. Condi Rice tried to gin up Chinese enthusiasm for jumping on North Korea during her recent visit to Beijing, but it doesn’t sound like she had much success. Meanwhile, Iran, which probably cannot build a nuclear weapon for years, if ever, is the subject of continual discussion and joint efforts by the US and Europe to derail its current nuclear program, particularly uranium enrichment.
While its nuclear activities remain uncriticized by the Administration, an undisputed nuclear villain, Pakistan, is being rewarded by the US with an offer of F-16s. In one of the worst misuses of intelligence since the Iraq war, the US tried to tar North Korea as a nuclear supplier to Libya, when it knew the real supplier was Pakistan, according to the Washington Post. It appears that Libya was offered some North Korean uranium, but only because Pakistan bought it and resold it to Libya. The US was covering up the Pakistani role, and inflating the North Korean role.
Meanwhile, we have discovered yet another deal that Pakistan was involved in, procuring high speed switches, probably klystrons (although nobody uses that word), and oscilloscopes for use in developing its own nuclear weapons, according to the LA Times. The arrest was made in Denver. We don’t know much about this deal, or about the North Korean uranium, because Pakistan won’t let us talk to A.Q. Khan, who orchestrated the deal.