The US is a global super power and by implication thus also an Asian Super Power. She hasdemonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan that she can be absolutely ruthless in the pursuit of her core national interests and that no matters of international law, international borders, sovereignties, collateral damages, ethics or morality could ever deter herfrom achieving her aims. She isaverse to any resistance to her drive to secure her interests and does not hesitate in manipulating the international order or usingherpolitical, diplomatic, economic, military, technical, intelligence cloutsetc topursue them. Her application ofthese forces inher currentmilitary expeditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan is testimony to such overpowering and dismissive arrogance. Pakistan and the US havemany converging interests and almost an equal number of divergences. Pakistan's nuclear programme is the biggest divergence of strategic interest between the two if ever there was any.Pakistan's nuclear programme does not fit in with the US' view of the world, of Asia and in particularher view of South Asia and the Middle East.A nuclear Pakistan is a great distraction to India whom the US would like to see single-mindedly engage China and become a countervailing force for her. The US would like China to become embroiled with India and thus remain stunted as an Asian powerand notgrow on to become a global power to challenge her sometime later in the 21st century.Thus all distractions and challenges to India must be removed. Furthermore the remote possibility of Pakistan's strategic reach going up to or beyond the immediate region/Middle East is an extremely unpalatable possibility for the US to countenance. The prospect of uncontrolled proliferation and terrorists getting hold of radioactive devices or materials is of serious concern to the international community at large too. Thus the USfeels apprehensive of andantagonistic towardsour nuclear programme.Furthermore our principled stance at various fora like the CD, FMCT, IAEAetc all have also not found favour with the US and other western countries. There appears to have been a deliberate effort that has gone in to create and shape our domestic andregional geopolitical andgeo-strategic environments for this specific purpose. A multi pronged approach is underway.Both internal and external maneouvres have been employed with devastating effect. The international and domestic opinion isbeing slowlyconditioned and prepared for just such an eventuality.The militant attacks on GHQ, theassaults in Abbottabad and PNS Mehran amongst other attacks on military and intelligence installationswereessentially designed to attack the virtual center of gravity of Pakistanandto generate a feeling of helplessness, ofnational demoralisation and despondency. A perception has thus beenfloated that the Government and theArmed Forces are incapable of securing and safeguarding their strategic assets and that there is a present and clear danger that the militants couldpossiblylay hands on these assets and thus threaten the peace loving free world. Thus the need for international intervention inthis case is beingjustifiedostensibly toensure international peace and security. The threats to Pakistan's strategic assets could take either adirect or an indirect approach or a combination of both. The direct threats would be those that would be manifested in a physical manner and would mean the direct acquisition of our nuclear devices/materials by hostile forces either from within the territorial boundaries of Pakistanorby external forces. It could also take the shape of physical occupation of all storage sites byexternal forces.The indirect threats would emanate in the political/geopolitical realms and would constitute the control, limitation, managementand/or manipulation of our nuclear programme through animposition of restrictions vide specific international regimes or orders. Whereas the direct threats will emerge from both internaland external sourcesthe indirect threats would essentially come from the international community in the shape ofUS sponsored new/existing UNSC Resolutions being used or attempts by groups of western led hostile nations (including Israel, India) toeither neutralize or preferably take over possession/effective and practical controlof our complete nuclear programme. Economic pressures from the IFI and trade embargoes too will be employed.Clearly, we need to be on our guard to watch out for hidden dangers and enemies. BRIGADIER (R) IMRAN MALIK, Lahore, June 11.