- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Let me be the first to nominate President Bush as the leading candidate for the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.
His strategic diplomacy, aided by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, without question averted a catastrophic war between India and Pakistan, a war that could have gone nuclear.
I believe that Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Gen. Pervez Musharraf, president of Pakistan, would second such a nomination because they know how close a call it was. In an interview, Mr. Vajpayee told a Hindi-language newspaper that had the United States not intervened, India was ready to launch nuclear missiles at Pakistan. And without question Pakistan would have responded with a similar barrage. Millions of Asians would have been killed or maimed for life. The catastrophic results would have been the equivalent of a dozen Chernobyls.
Were Mr. Bush to receive the Nobel, he would be the third U.S. president to have been so honored. President Theodore Roosevelt won the Nobel for presenting a peace treaty in 1905 that ended the war between Russia and Japan. President Woodrow Wilson got the Nobel in 1919 for helping to found the League of Nations, which the U.S. Senate promptly refused to join.
The Vajpayee interview, reported in the Toronto National Post from Islamabad as well as in the London Guardian, appeared in the Dainik Jagran daily. Mr. Vajpayee is quoted as saying: "If Pakistan had not accepted the demand to stop cross-border infiltration and the United States had not conveyed to us Pakistan's guarantee to do so, then nothing could have stopped war."
Two of three wars between India and Pakistan since they both became independent from Britain in 1947 have been over Indian-controlled Kashmir. These wars have taken the lives of more than 60,000 people in an insurgency that began a dozen years ago. India says Islamic guerrillas supported by Pakistan enter the region to attack Indian security forces and civilians in what the guerrillas define as Indian territory.
The Kashmir issue has seized the United Nations for decades. The General Assembly lectern was for years occupied by the durable Krishna Menon, India's longtime U.N. delegate, whose seven- and eight-hour orations (once including a dramatic collapse as he spoke) usually emptied the cavernous chamber.
According to National Post sources, Pakistan has an arsenal of between 25 to 50 nuclear warheads that can be fired by missiles with a maximum range of 900 miles or dropped from fighter planes. India's arsenal consists of 100 to 150 nuclear warheads with a maximum range of 1,800 miles.
Among previous Nobel Prize winners since 1901 have been Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Dalai Lama, Lech Walesa, Mother Teresa, Andrei Sakharov, Martin Luther King, Kofi Annan. But one can say in recalling past Nobel laureates that Mr. Bush was the first statesman to avert an on-the-brink nuclear war and to establish, if not peace for all time, at least a durable armistice on the Asian subcontinent. Millions of people in Asia are alive today because of the unyielding tenacity and strategic vision of a U.S. President at a moment where the world's future was at stake.
The Nobel Peace Prize for George Bush in 2002.


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