A. Q. Khan is a Freedom fighter or a terrorist depending on whose side you are on. If you are a Pakistani he is a hero because he brought the A-bomb into their weapons arsenal, and thus brought Pakistan into the modern world of superpowers. He was particularly angered at the West and by American playing the world policeman. In Der Spiegel 1979 he wrote,
I want to question the bloody holier-than-thou attitudes of the Americans and the British. Those bastards are God-appointed guardians of the world to stockpile hundreds of thousands of nuclear warheads and have the God-given authority of carrying out explosions every month. But if we start a modest program, we are the Satans, the devils.
The Seventh Decade: The American Empire Project by Jonathan Schell (p. 46) Quoting Shopping for Bombs by Gordon Corera (p. 51).
Earlier it had been the French in November 1939 who embarked on an A-bomb project, and the Americans under Franklin Roosevelt who in August 1939, were afraid that their enemies, who at that time were the Germans under Hitler, would get the A-bomb first and they would be its victims. During WW-2 the Soviets knew of American progress on this problem, via some successful spying, and were soon developing their own A-bomb. Always, it appeared to the developers of these weapons that they were being defensive in the acquisition of them in response to possible aggressive actions of some other nation who had them already or might soon get them. Never was there a legislative body consulted by a country who developed these expensive weapons; it was always done in secret by the executive or the military. (p. 35).
Because every one of these weapons has been created by extralegal methods it might be said that they were all created by terrorists, or freedom fighters if you prefer—the definition is rather slippery. A. Q. Khan’s motives stand out more clearly because he stated them publicly. But even Ernest Bevin, British Foreign minister said, ” We’ve got to have this. … We’ve got to have this thing over here, whatever it costs. We’ve got to have the bloody Union Jack on top of it.” (p. 58). Apparently if one is within a government, or at least appears to be acting with government approval, then one is fighting for the freedom of their country and is a freedom fighter, but while one is still outside of a government and trying to influence a government by violence then by some definitions one is a terrorist. The president of France at the time said as an excuse for developing an A-bomb, “France must continue to behave as a great power precisely because she no longer is one.” So, within the sanctity of government he was a freedom fighter.
After a while it doesn’t matter much what the original motives for having the A-bomb was or its 1,000 times bigger big brother the H-bomb, because the bombs exist and are controlled by other people. People, if you have noticed, are rather flighty creatures, and can believe in some very weird things which sometimes lead to actions which are totally inexplicable. The reasons Khan wanted his own country Pakistan to have A-bombs when their arch enemy India had them is explicable. But why he would believe that giving distant foreign countries, such as North Korea, Libya, Syria and Iran and possibly others, what they needed to make A-bombs would make his country a safer place is to me not explicable. Because setting off an international conflagration which would surely involve his home country would end by destroying the very thing he valued most and supposedly wanted to protect.
It is because the motivations of human beings can be so complex and inexplicable that we must assume that at some point some single human being will make a decision to deploy an A-bomb and destroy someone else’s city, and that at some point they will have an A-bomb under their control, and can carry out their deadly plan. Civilization has been around for some 5,000 years and this knowledge of how to make A-bombs will probably remain with humanity for as long as it retains a civilization. The fact that we have survived for 64 years without a Doomsday disaster occurring, with eight super powers holding 30,000 bombs, doesn’t mean that civilization can survive for another 5,000 years with over fifty independent nations in control of hundreds of thousands of bombs.
The problem is aggravated by more atomic reactors being created because the amount of fissile materials needed for new bombs will then become more available. Also worsening the Doomsday probability is that the exact knowledge of how to make bombs is becoming common knowledge. With future technology such as computers making it easier to calculate the details it may become possible for ordinary citizens to manufacture some WMDs soon. Then what? It is obvious that someone, perhaps even someone who is normally considered sane, will start the chain reaction which will in a matter of a few hours will destroy the entire life support system upon which modern civilization thrives.
The various Lifehaven and Earth Ark projects are an attempt to create the possibility of reconstituting a modern civilization after Doomsday. One might seriously ask why would someone want to rebuild something which is so totally destructive of life on this planet? My reason is simple: I believe humans were bred by our ancestors to be good, and that with some guidance, and experience, and some forethought we humans can work out ways to make this planet a true heaven not only for humans, but for all living things. It can be done. But, it can not be done with two or more independent parties holding H-bombs. Even if there is peace and plenty, if two people seek power, and they both have weapons at some point they will use them. So, we must seek to create a world where no one has the power to destroy everything. Ultimately this must be a world where nationalities cease to exist, and all people are considered to be of the same nationality that is the human nationality.