FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

F-16s to Pakistan

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

A sucker is born every minute. It may not always be obvious who the sucker is. Pakistan is negotiating with the United States to buy some airplanes. Apparently there is no one left in Pakistan who remembers the 1990s. The United States may be considering selling airplanes to Pakistan. Apparently there is no one left in the administration who remembers Pakistan’s ties to terrorists, the sale of nuclear secrets to Iran and other troubling facts about that country.

Back in the ’80s and ’90s the United States had some really keen airplanes that Pakistan wanted to buy to use if it got into a fight with India. Pakistan paid the United States $650 million for 25 F-16 fighter planes. Then a bad thing happened. Someone remembered the Pressler Amendment that said the planes could only be sold to Pakistan if the president could certify that Pakistan was not developing nuclear weapons. It was, and the president did not issue the certification. The planes were kept by the United States.

That left the United States with 25 F-16 fighter planes for which it had no use and $650 million for which Pakistan had a use. Instead of writing a refund check to Pakistan, the United States kept the money and tried to get money to repay Pakistan by making deals with other countries. It sold nine of the planes to Indonesia. Before it collected, however, President Suharto got mad because the U.S. was criticizing his human rights record. He cancelled the sale. That left the United States with 25 F-16 fighter planes for which it had no use and $650 million for which Pakistan had a use. A number of other sales or leases were attempted but none proved successful.

In March, 1998, Pakistan announced that it was going to sue the United States to recover the $650 million it had paid that the United States refused to return. It is unclear what defense the U.S. would have asserted had the case been filed. It wasn’t filed and at the end of 1998 the U.S. agreed to pay Pakistan $326.9 million in cash and $140 million in other kinds of compensation including $60 million in white wheat. (That is almost certainly one of the few disputes over $650 million not involving the purchase and sale of white wheat that has ever been settled by the delivery of white wheat.) Earlier, $157 million had been refunded to Pakistan and how the last many millions were to be paid was left up to future negotiations Anyone wanting to know how that came out will have to do his or her own research.

The Pakistanis are now back asking for seconds. Having been ripped off once before it’s a surprise they are back. Given Pakistan’s record it’s a surprise we’d do business with it again and a short while ago it looked as though we would not. In November of 2004 at a White House conference Deputy National Security Advisor Robert Blackwill was quoted as saying with respect to the sale of airplanes to Pakistan: “There’s nothing that we are aware of and at any level a decision has been made to supply F-16s to Pakistan.” Things can change in a hurry, especially when friendship trumps principle as it often does in the Bush administration.

On March 16, 2005, it was reported that during Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Pakistan, the issue of F-16 sales to Pakistan was sure to come up. Commenting on the upcoming visit, diplomats said that the ban that precluded the earlier sale might be dropped. The reason is apparently related to the fact that Pakistan and India now both have nuclear weapons. That being the case, there’s no reason not to sell Pakistan airplanes that can be used to deliver them since it would not have a destabilizing effect on the region. It wouldn’t be destabilizing because according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. is also prepared to consider selling planes to India. If both countries have the ability to drop their nuclear weapons on each other the balance of power remains in perfect equilibrium. For that I suppose one should be grateful although it’s not clear why.

During Secretary Rice’s visit she said she looked forward to “the evolution of a democratic path toward elections in 2007.” Secretary Rice may be looking forward to it. It’s not clear that she and General Musharraf, Pakistan’s president, have the same view. The General may or may not be looking forward to it. What he is certainly looking forward to is the advent of some F-16s. He may get those before he has to decide whether to permit free elections. Time will tell.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a lawyer in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at: Brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu or through his website: http://hraos.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

July 20, 2017
Sebastian Friedrich – Gabriel Kuhn
A New Class Politics
Patrick Cockburn
The Massacre of Mosul: More Than 40,000 Civilians Feared Dead
Paul Street
The Abandonment: Reflections on James Foreman’s “Locking Up Our Own”
Kim Codella
A Practical Education
Frank Scott
America’s Trump, Not Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Clancy Sigal Goes Away
Don Monkerud
The Real Treason in DC: Turning Our Lives Over to Corporate
Brian Dew – Dean Baker
Are Amazon’s Shareholders Suckers?
Ralph Nader
Detecting What Unravels Our Society – Bottom-up and Top-down
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Covering Islam, Post-Jack Shaheen
Binoy Kampmark
Uhlmann’s Trump Problem
Patrick Walker
In Defense of Caitlin Johnstone
Barry Lando
Those Secret Putin-Trump Talks
Sean Marquis
Thank You, Donald Trump
July 19, 2017
Adam Ziemkowski and Rebekah Liebermann
How Seattle Voted to Tax the Rich
Patrick Cockburn
Why ISIS Fighters are Being Thrown Off Buildings in Mosul
John W. Whitehead
Zombies R Us: the Walking Dead of the American Police State
Mateo Pimentel
Net Neutrality’s Missing Persons
Adil E. Shamoo - Bonnie Bricker
Yemen Policy is Creating More Terrorists
L. Ali Khan
U.S. Misreads Pakistan’s Antifragility
David Macaray
Fear and Trembling in the Workplace
Brian Trautman, Gerry Condon and Samantha Ferguson
Veterans Call on U.S. to Sign Nuclear Ban Treaty
Binoy Kampmark
Militarising Civilian Life: Australia, Policing and Terrorism
Ricardo Vaz
Venezuelan Opposition “Consultation”: Playing Alone and Losing
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Cold-Hearted Agenda is Immoral
Raul Castro
We will Continue to Advance Along the Path Freely Chosen by Our People
July 18, 2017
James Bovard
Obama’s AWOL Anti-War Protesters
Gary Leupp
CNN: “Russia is an Adversary, Ukraine is Not.”
Ryan Shah
Beware the Radical Center
John Carroll Md
Cold Hands Don’t Need Narcotics
Derrick Jensen
Endangered Species Don’t Need an Ark – They Need a Living Planet!
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Canadian Conjucture
Arturo Lopez-Levy
Trump’s Cuba Restrictions: a Detour, Not the Future
Russell Mokhiber
State Street Bentley University Business Ethics and Corporate Crime
Laura Finley
Being Too Much
Robert J. Gould
What is Our Experience of our Flawed Democracy?
Taju Tijani
The Burden of Indivisible Nigeria
Guillaume Pitron
China Now Leads in Renewables
Ted Rall
How I Learned Courts are Off-Limits to the 99 Percent
Binoy Kampmark
Militarising Civilian Life: Australia, Policing and Terrorism
July 17, 2017
Gregory Wilpert
Time for the “International Left” to Take a Stand on Venezuela
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Embrace of the Saudi Crown Prince, and a Qatar Nightmare Scenario
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Liu Xiaobo: the West’s Model Chinese
Terry Simons
Why I Did Not Go to Vietnam
Jim Green
Nuclear Power’s Annus Horribilus
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail