WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- The UPI think tank wrap-up is a daily digest covering brief opinion pieces, reactions to recent news events and position statements released by various think tanks.
The Cato Institute
WASHINGTON -- Pakistan is an unreliable ally in war on terror, study says
As the United States expands its anti-terrorist operations into Pakistan, a new study from the Cato Institute argues that Pakistan is an unreliable ally that is likely to turn on America in the long run.
In "Pakistan in America's War against Terrorism: Strategic Ally or Unreliable Client?" Cato Research Fellow Leon Hadar traces the history of U.S. involvement in Pakistan and argues that the United States has much to lose from a long-term partnership.
In the months before the Sept. 11 attacks, Pakistan was the most important diplomatic and political ally of the Taliban regime that harbored the al-Qaida terrorists, Hadar points out. "(President Pervez) Musharraf, as head of Pakistan's military, used his alliance with radical Muslim clerics to provide legitimacy to his dictatorship, forming a powerful and destructive 'military-mosque' nexus. With Musharraf as its head, that political nexus helped transform Pakistan into a magnet for radical Islamic terrorists in the region and around the world."
After the events of Sept. 11, Pakistan realized that it was in the country's short-term interest to cooperate with the United States, Hadar says. First, Musharraf hoped to prevent the removal of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, instead replacing it with "moderate" Taliban who would remain friendly to Pakistan. Second, he hoped to internationalize the dispute over Kashmir, bringing in the United States to pressure India no to respond to Pakistani acts of provocation.
But despite pledges of cooperation, Pakistan's intelligence service continued to provide military and financial assistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hadar says.
"Islamabad still regarded Afghanistan as a strategic ally and ideological associate. Afghan training camps and Afghan recruits helped to prepare the next Pakistani-instigated insurgency against the Indians in Kashmir and to spread radical Islamic ideas and institutions around the world through 'jihad-international' brigades, some of which were tied to the al-Qaida network."
Some cooperation between the United States and Pakistan is necessary to wage the war against terrorism, Hadar says, but that cooperation must not evolve into a new long-term strategic alliance. "Washington should view Pakistan, with its dictatorship, failed economy, and insecure nuclear arsenal, as a reluctant supporter of U.S. goals at best and as a potential long-term problem at worst."
The report is available as Policy Analysis No. 436 on the Cato Institute Web site at
Institute for Public Accuracy
(The IPA is a nationwide consortium of policy researchers that seeks to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for experts whose perspectives are often overshadowed by major think tanks and other influential institutions.)
WASHINGTON -- Enron: Then and Now
-- Tyson Slocum, research director of the Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program at Public Citizen and co-author of the report "Blind Faith: How Deregulation and Enron's Influence Over Government Looted Billions from Americans."
"In light of memos indicating that Army Secretary Thomas White's former Enron division was involved in price-gouging during the California electricity crisis, we call for White to resign immediately and for the Justice Department to initiate a criminal probe. Thomas White served as vice chairman of Enron Energy Services from 1998 until the Senate confirmed him as secretary of the Army in May 2001. When President Bush nominated White for the post, he cited White's 11-year experience as a top Enron executive as a primary qualification. The internal company memos describe how Thomas White's division lied to California officials, enabling the company to charge prices far higher than should have been allowed."
-- Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.
"The recent evidence that Enron was manipulating the electricity market in California shows that corporate-centered deregulation harms both electric system reliability and consumers. Regional and local control and oversight as well as transparency of large generating companies are needed to ensure that consumers and small generating companies get a fair shake."
-- Sheila Krumholz, research director of the Center for Responsive Politics.
"Enron has revealed that it spent about three times as much on lobbying in the first half of 2001 as it first reported, according to an amended report the company filed with Congress on March 1. The revision comes a little more than a month after the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics notified the secretary of the Senate and the clerk of the House that Enron had underreported its lobbying expenditures by at least 50 percent."
The National Center for Public Policy Research
(NCPPR is a communications and research foundation dedicated to providing free-market solutions to today's public policy problems, based on the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility. NCPPR was founded to provide the conservative movement with a versatile and energetic organization capable of responding quickly and decisively to late-breaking issues, based on thorough research.)
CHICAGO -- Ten-second response: Reprocessing nuclear fuel is the way to make Yucca Mountain work for everyone
By Tom Randall
-- Background: News stories May 8 mentioned the alleged inadequacies of Yucca Mountain as a repository for spent nuclear fuel. The notion of reprocessing fuel to reduce storage needs was discussed, but news reports said that the United States remained opposed to reprocessing (of nuclear waste) because of nuclear proliferation concerns. Energy Undersecretary Robert Card was quoted as saying, "The administration is on record as being willing to reopen the reprocessing issue."
-- Ten-second response: The administration is right to consider reprocessing nuclear fuel, in addition to opening the Yucca Mountain repository. New technology can reprocess fuel without the danger of proliferation.
-- Thirty-second response: Reprocessing nuclear fuel sent to the Yucca Mountain repository will provide us with affordable, abundant energy and change the storage requirements from vast quantities to be locked away for thousands of years to smaller quantities needing only a few hundred years of storage. New technology such as the Integral Fast Reactor and pyroreprocessing make all this possible with absolutely no danger of nuclear proliferation.
-- Discussion: When work on the Integral Fast Reactor and pyroreprocessing was halted by former energy secretary, Hazel O'Leary in 1994, on the groundless fear that it would create a market in bomb-grade plutonium, Argonne National Laboratory was just 2 to 3 years and $200-300 million dollars from completing the research necessary to build full-scale reactor/reprocessors.
(Tom Randall is a director of the John P. McGovern, Md., Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs at the National Center for Public Policy Research.)
CHICAGO -- Ten-second response: Kyoto treaty language attached to Senate energy bill
By Gretchen Randall
-- Background: Before passing its energy bill, the Senate attached an amendment setting up a greenhouse gas database. Participating companies would voluntarily report their reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. If, after five years, less than 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are being reported as determined by the Director of the Office of National Climate Change Policy, participation becomes mandatory. Failure to comply with the mandatory reporting could result in fines up to $25,000 per day.
-- Ten-second response: This so-called "voluntary" database is just a step toward implementing the Kyoto Treaty the president and Senate rejected because it would devastate the U.S. economy and cost American jobs.
-- Thirty-second response: The Kyoto Protocol was a flawed treaty that was rejected by both the Senate and the president because it would have cost thousands of American jobs to solve a problem many scientists doubt exist. Now the Senate is trying to implement many of its costly requirements in a back-door move.
-- Discussion: According to projections by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, ratification of the Kyoto Protocol would have a devastating effect on the U.S. economy. EIA estimates gasoline prices would rise 14 cents to 66 cents per gallon by the year 2010, electricity prices would go up 20 percent to 86 percent and compliance with the treaty would cost the U.S. economy $400 billion per year. A study commissioned by six African-American and Hispanic organizations found that the requirements of the treaty would put 864,000 black Americans and 511,000 Hispanics out of work.
(Gretchen Randall is a director of the John P. McGovern, Md. Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs at the National Center for Public Policy Research.)