Presidential contender Michele Bachmann says despite growing tensions between the United States and Pakistan, Washington must remain engaged with the Asian nation because of its nuclear capabilities. Bachmann also told Fox News’ Neal Cavuto Monday that if they fall in the wrong hands, those nuclear weapons could not only be used against Israel, but the United States.
Tensions between America and Pakistan were inflamed last weekend when a NATO attack allegedly killed 24 Pakistani troops. The attacks resulted in violent protests in Pakistan, including burning of American flags in the streets.
“We have two main concerns, Neil, in Pakistan: One is our relationship where they do cooperate with us on tracking down al-Qaida — that is a positive. But the other concern we have is the fact that they are highly vulnerable to penetration by jihadists stealing nuclear weapons and fissile material,” Bachmann said. “And some day, that material could be used against our ally Israel in the region or potentially — if it escapes the country of Pakistan — it could be used against us in the United States to set off a dirty bomb.
“We need to make sure that never happens — and that is why it is imperative that, with our security assistance, we focus on what the United States needs,” she said. “And that is a secure nuclear site in Pakistan.”
The Minnesota congresswoman also said it is important to ensure that Pakistan’s nuclear sites remain secure because of China’s interests in the region — and the ever-roving eye of Iran.
“We need to remember that China wants to be the influential party in Pakistan, as well as Iran. We don`t want to abandon this nuclear nation — highly nuclearized — to Iranian influence or to Chinese influence,” Bachmann said. “We want to make sure that those nuclear weapons are not used against either our ally Israel or against the United States. And that is why this is a very imperfect partnership that we have against Pakistan — to say the least — but we have to stay engaged with this nation for our own safety and also for the safety of the Jewish state of Israel.”
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