Pakistan Wants to Control Afghanistan

Question: Is Pakistan really our ally?

Jere Van Dyk:  No.  I think that when you look at the \r\nhistory of Pakistan, when it was formed in 1947, the only country that \r\nvoted against its being allowed entry into the United Nations was \r\nAfghanistan, and that had to do with the border region.  In 1948 when \r\nPakistan was trying to wrest Kashmir from India, it took men from the \r\ntribal areas, Pashtuns, and used them to fight against India as a \r\nguerrilla force.  And they almost captured Srinigar, the capital.

Realizing\r\n the power of these Pashtuns, of these tribal men, their fierceness as \r\nwarriors, their tradition as fighters, and their belief in Islam, they \r\nused them to create—they were the vanguard in the beginnings and the \r\nleadership of the Mujahadeen, America's and Pakistan's ally against the \r\nSoviet Union in the 1980s.  When I returned from Afghanistan in the \r\n1980s and worked as a consultant for the State Department, and the \r\nNational Security Council, in the Reagan Administration, the United \r\nStates and Pakistan took these Mujahadeen, these men that had been \r\nbrought up to power, and they created a government called the "Afghan \r\nMujahadeen Government in Exile."  I was their guide when they came to \r\nNew York to present their credentials to the United Nations.

When\r\n they—when the Mujahadeen disintegrated and began to fight amongst \r\nthemselves, out of this came the Taliban.  The Taliban in a great many \r\nways are the sons, and the grandsons, and the younger brothers of the \r\nmost militant members of the Mujahadeen.  One of the most prominent \r\nmembers of the Taliban, a man named Hakani, who I lived with in the \r\n1980's, who had an Arab visit... an Egyptian Army officer come and stay \r\nwith us, who I later figured out was one of the very beginnings of al \r\nQaeda.

When this occurred, I began to realize the close ties \r\nbetween al Qaeda and the Mujahadeen; this man today, Hakani, is one of \r\nthe leaders of the Taliban.  Only three countries, when the Taliban took\r\n over Afghanistan, granted it diplomatic recognition.  Principal among \r\nthem:  Pakistan.  Secondly, Saudi Arabia.  Thirdly, the United Arab \r\nEmirates.  No other country in the world.

Pakistan's foreign \r\npolicy is to prevent itself from being surrounded by India, afraid that \r\nIndia would use Afghanistan to surround Pakistan.  It wants to...  In \r\n2006, Major General Shaukat Sultan, presidential spokesman for President\r\n Pervez Musharref told me: "All our invasions come from the West."  \r\nPashtuns feel that the lands inside Pakistan that go all the way to the \r\nIndus River are theirs.  They do not accept the Durand Line, the border \r\nbetween Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Not one single legislature in the \r\nhistory of Afghanistan has ever accepted this border.

The \r\nPakistani army is comprised of Punjabis, the Pakistani—it's led by \r\nPunjabis.  The main ethnic —the most populous, and the richest, the most\r\n accomplished ethnic group in Pakistan—the bureaucracy of Pakistan is \r\nrun by Punjabis.  They are at war with the Pashtuns to prevent the \r\nPashtuns from going back and taking the lands that were once theirs that\r\n stretch all the way to the Indus River.

In a meeting I had with \r\nPresident Karzai he lamented the fact that so many Pashtun lands are now\r\n in the hands of Pakistan.  So Pakistan has a geopolitical goal of \r\nsurrounding India, to prevent itself from being reconquered by the \r\nPashtuns, and thirdly it wants to, in my view, recreate the Mughal \r\nMuslim empire... thereby establishing trade relationships with Sunni \r\nCentral Asia, taking over Afghanistan, to expand it's reach, and finally\r\n in order to gain access to the most important resource it needs and is \r\ndesperately in shortage of: water.  All water comes from—the main water \r\nsources of Pakistan come from India, and they come from Afghanistan.

Question: How worried should we be about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons?

Jere Van Dyk: There have been many reports of how the \r\nUnited States has contingency plans, we have to take over those nuclear \r\narms if something were to go terribly awry in Pakistan.  Those arms \r\nthemselves cannot be directed against the United States.  Pakistan is \r\ntoo far away from the United States.  It's not the Soviet Union, which \r\nhad missiles that were capable of reaching our soil.

The fact \r\nthat members of the Pakistani military are deeply religious and would be\r\n aligned with al Qaeda and would try to help those people... help al \r\nQaeda get those weapons and access to them and therefore help them with \r\nall their abilities to reach the West, yes, I do think that that's a \r\nthreat. But I think it's a long-term threat.  I personally don't worry \r\nabout that.  I think that a far greater threat is the continuation of \r\nthe war on television, which radicalizes young men in the West like this\r\n man who went and tried to do what he did in Times Square.  I think that\r\n is a much greater threat to the United States in the short term than \r\nany nuclear arms falling into al Qaeda.

Recorded June 29. 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller

The U.S. should be wary of its "ally" Pakistan, says Van Dyk.

China's "artificial sun" sets new record for fusion power

China has reached a new record for nuclear fusion at 120 million degrees Celsius.

Credit: STR via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

China wants to build a mini-star on Earth and house it in a reactor. Many teams across the globe have this same bold goal --- which would create unlimited clean energy via nuclear fusion.

But according to Chinese state media, New Atlas reports, the team at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has set a new world record: temperatures of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds.

Yeah, that's hot. So what? Nuclear fusion reactions require an insane amount of heat and pressure --- a temperature environment similar to the sun, which is approximately 150 million degrees C.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it.

If scientists can essentially build a sun on Earth, they can create endless energy by mimicking how the sun does it. In nuclear fusion, the extreme heat and pressure create a plasma. Then, within that plasma, two or more hydrogen nuclei crash together, merge into a heavier atom, and release a ton of energy in the process.

Nuclear fusion milestones: The team at EAST built a giant metal torus (similar in shape to a giant donut) with a series of magnetic coils. The coils hold hot plasma where the reactions occur. They've reached many milestones along the way.

According to New Atlas, in 2016, the scientists at EAST could heat hydrogen plasma to roughly 50 million degrees C for 102 seconds. Two years later, they reached 100 million degrees for 10 seconds.

The temperatures are impressive, but the short reaction times, and lack of pressure are another obstacle. Fusion is simple for the sun, because stars are massive and gravity provides even pressure all over the surface. The pressure squeezes hydrogen gas in the sun's core so immensely that several nuclei combine to form one atom, releasing energy.

But on Earth, we have to supply all of the pressure to keep the reaction going, and it has to be perfectly even. It's hard to do this for any length of time, and it uses a ton of energy. So the reactions usually fizzle out in minutes or seconds.

Still, the latest record of 120 million degrees and 101 seconds is one more step toward sustaining longer and hotter reactions.

Why does this matter? No one denies that humankind needs a clean, unlimited source of energy.

We all recognize that oil and gas are limited resources. But even wind and solar power --- renewable energies --- are fundamentally limited. They are dependent upon a breezy day or a cloudless sky, which we can't always count on.

Nuclear fusion is clean, safe, and environmentally sustainable --- its fuel is a nearly limitless resource since it is simply hydrogen (which can be easily made from water).

With each new milestone, we are creeping closer and closer to a breakthrough for unlimited, clean energy.

The science of sex, love, attraction, and obsession

The symbol for love is the heart, but the brain may be more accurate.

  • How love makes us feel can only be defined on an individual basis, but what it does to the body, specifically the brain, is now less abstract thanks to science.
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  • Dr. Fisher, professor Ted Fischer, and psychiatrist Gail Saltz explain the different types of love, explore the neuroscience of love and attraction, and share tips for sustaining relationships that are healthy and mutually beneficial.

Golden blood: The rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
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There never was a male fertility crisis

A new study suggests that reports of the impending infertility of the human male are greatly exaggerated.

Sex & Relationships
  • A new review of a famous study on declining sperm counts finds several flaws.
  • The old report makes unfounded assumptions, has faulty data, and tends toward panic.
  • The new report does not rule out that sperm counts are going down, only that this could be quite normal.
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