Monday, April 04, 2005

The New York Times : : U.S. Is Set to Sell Jets to Pakistan

A few words about the sale of F-16s to Pakistan. Rigorous Intuition points out that this was one of the demands put forth by Daniel Pearl's kidnappers in 2002. The person who ordered the kidnapping - besides being an associate of Osama's - was a Pakistani intelligence asset.
India is, understandably, piqued. And given that India or China - possibly both - are poised to become global powers in the next century, it would make better sense for future Indian schoolchildren to learn how America befriended them and helped them every step of their way to success, rather than blocking, frustrating, and cheating them. (It's also worth pointing out that India is one of two nations on Earth whose citizens supported Bush's election in 2004.)
Of course, this also applies generally - but perhaps the finer points of foreign policy escape me here.


Blogger Management said...

March 26, 2005
U.S. Is Set to Sell Jets to Pakistan; India Is Critical

Correction Appended

WASHINGTON, March 25 - The United States will sell F-16 jet fighters to Pakistan in a deal that State Department officials said Friday would improve regional security. But the decision was immediately denounced by India as adding a fresh element of instability to relations between the nuclear neighbors.

The size of the arms sale has not been decided, State Department officials said, although Pakistan previously said it was seeking about two dozen of the planes, which can be used in ground or air attack roles and have a maximum range of more than 2,000 miles.

President Bush personally telephoned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India early Friday to inform him of the decision to sell F-16's to Pakistan, White House officials said.

In words apparently meant to soften the impact of a major weapons transfer to India's rival, Mr. Bush said the administration had also cleared the way for India to discuss a combat aircraft purchase with American arms manufacturers.

Mr. Bush, speaking from his Texas ranch, told the Indian prime minister that the United States was "responding" to New Delhi's request for information on "multirole combat aircraft," according to White House officials.

The possibility of the F-16 sale to Pakistan had been hinted at by people in the administration and was reported by The Wall Street Journal this month before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited India and Pakistan.

Even so, Mr. Singh told Mr. Bush of his "great disappointment" over the pending arms sale and warned that it would undermine regional security, according to Sanjaya Baru, the prime minister's spokesman, as quoted by The Associated Press from India.

Relations between India and Pakistan remain tenuous and bitter. They have fought three wars, mostly over the Kashmir territory, and now both nations have nuclear arms. Still, they are committed to off-and-on peace talks. And in an important step, the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has promised to visit India for a cricket match between teams from the countries early next month.

The F-16 is valued for its ability to take on a variety of missions, including delivering precise airstrikes. In that role, it has been used extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq to attack suspected insurgent hiding places, and Pakistan has said it would use the plane to strike at terrorists.

The fighters to be sold to Pakistan may be newer models off the production line, and not the older variant purchased by Pakistan in the 1980's. In 1990, it ordered more, but delivery was blocked when Congress passed legislation to punish the Pakistanis for their ambitions to develop nuclear weapons.

State Department officials said the purchase price would be unknown until a formal agreement is reached on which model of the fighter will be sold, and how it will be equipped. The F-16C/D models purchased by the United States Air Force from the Lockheed Martin Corporation in 1998, for example, cost $18.8 million each, though exported versions of the plane typically cost more.

The arms sale is seen as reward for cooperation in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when Pakistan opened its territory as a crucial portal into neighboring Afghanistan during the war to topple the Taliban government and oust fighters of Al Qaeda. Even so, some military analysts complain that Pakistan is not doing enough today to hunt down insurgents and terrorists still seeking refuge in the mountainous areas of Pakistan just across the Afghan border.

The Bush administration has also chosen to overlook or play down other irritants, including what some officials say has been a lack of cooperation in investigating the nuclear black-market network run by A. Q. Khan, a Pakistani scientist, and the slowness of General Musharraf to return his country to democracy.

State Department officials explained that the arms sale fit into the broader strategic relationship across South Asia. "We are looking to improve security and improve prosperity and improve development of the entire region as a whole through an integrated program of engagement," Adam Ereli, the State Department deputy spokesman, said at a news briefing Friday afternoon.

"And that engagement includes security, it includes energy, it includes economy, it includes diplomacy, politics," he said. "And part of that is a decision to begin negotiations with the Pakistani government and Congress to sell F-16's to Pakistan and to respond favorably to a request for information from India for the possible sale of multirole combat aircraft."

Mr. Ereli said that "relations between India and Pakistan have never been better," and that "to the extent that we can contribute to Pakistan's sense of security and India's sense of security, that will contribute to regional stability."

Pakistan has the older F-16's already in its arsenal, and has been lobbying to buy more for years. As one reward for its assistance after Sept. 11, the United States began selling Pakistan spare parts for those older planes.

India, on the other hand, has been buying its fighters elsewhere, but American companies are lobbying to get into the Indian arms market.

Like most newer-generation strike jets, the F-16 can carry nuclear weapons. But State Department officials denied that sales of advanced aircraft to the two countries would increase the ability of either to deliver nuclear weapons across their shared border, citing the fact that both countries have tested medium-range missiles capable of carrying warheads.

But Larry Pressler, a former Republican senator from South Dakota who gave his name to the amendment that halted the F-16 transfers to Pakistan in the 1990's, said Friday that the decision to go ahead with the jet-fighter deal "is a mistake."

"I know that we want to be friends with Pakistan because of the terrorism thing, but you don't fight terrorism with F-16's," he said in a telephone interview. "F-16's are capable of nuclear delivery. That's about the only reason Pakistan wants them. The only people they are in a fight with are in India. India now will have to get the same thing somehow. So it raises tensions and stakes without meeting any of our objectives."

The United States wants several things from Pakistan, and the sale of F-16's could more tightly bind the two nations. In particular, Washington wants more help in unraveling the Khan nuclear network, particularly its assistance to Iran and North Korea. But a State Department official said there was no quid pro quo with the arms deal.

A senior administration official also said the United States wanted more signs of democratization, including a decision by General Musharraf to surrender his military position as a sign of relinquishing some of his consolidated power.

In part to mollify India, Secretary Rice made a point of lauding India's leaders for its help with Southeast Asian tsunami relief, and she insisted during her visit to the region last week that the United States would join India in a larger strategic partnership. She also expressed hope to leaders of both countries that they would work with each other to peacefully resolve their dispute over Kashmir.

Senior officials said Friday that the United States was trying to balance the arms sale to Pakistan by animating "the strategic dialogue" with India that would emphasize that nation's role as "a world power."

"We are comfortable that we have a kind of concerted approach in which neither side feels that we are acting or taking steps to undermine the relations that we have and compromise their interests," a senior State Department official said.

Correction: March 30, 2005, Wednesday:

Because of an editing error, a front-page article on Saturday about the United States' decision to sell F-16 jet fighters to Pakistan referred incompletely to earlier reports of it. While The Wall Street Journal indeed covered it earlier in the month, the deal was first reported by The Dallas Morning News three days earlier, on March 12.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Management said...

Deadline to kill captive reporter extended a day

February 1, 2002 Posted: 4:56 AM EST (0956 GMT)

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- A group claiming to be the kidnappers of a U.S. journalist in Pakistan said it would extend the deadline to kill him to Friday -- thus giving him a day's reprieve.

Writers claiming to be holding Daniel Pearl sent an unsigned e-mail to Pakistani and Western media. They said they would wait another day for their demands -- to release Pakistanis held by the United States in the war on terror -- to be met before killing the Wall Street Journal reporter.

The kidnappers had on Wednesday threatened to kill him in 24 hours, which would have expired today, if those demands weren't met.

The e-mail has been verified to be "real," a senior Bush administration official said. "The intelligence assessment is -- it is from the kidnappers who sent the first one," the official said. A spokesman for the reporter's newspaper said that it is "moving along on the assumption that it is legit."

The group, which calls itself The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty, has also warned other American reporters to leave Pakistan within three days, which would be Saturday.

The administration official said that "there is a heightened sense of frustration" over the matter. "It is not like there is something reasonable to negotiate here. We just have to hope they realize there is no purpose, no benefit to what they are doing."

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday that the kidnappers' demands "are not demands that we can meet or deal with or get into negotiations about."

"With respect to Mr. Pearl, we're deeply concerned for his safety," the secretary said. "We're doing everything we can to try to locate him and rescue him."

Powell added that he had spoken with Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, "and I know that he's doing everything he can."

The developments came as the Wall Street Journal made an impassioned plea Thursday to the kidnappers, asking them not to kill Pearl but view him as a "messenger" for their political views.

Pearl went missing in Karachi, Pakistan, last week and is being held by captors calling themselves "The National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty." He was in Pakistan researching a story on Richard Reid, the man suspected of trying to set off explosives hidden in his shoes while aboard an airplane.

Meanwhile, a man who is thought to have helped arrange an interview for Pearl with the religious leader of a fundamentalist Muslim group is dead, the inspector general of the Karachi police said Thursday.

Inspector General Syed Kamal Shah identified the man only as "Arif" and said he died Wednesday. Police don't know how he died or if it was connected to the kidnapping.

Pearl was abducted while on his way to that interview, which he believed was to be with Sheikh Mubarik ali Gilani, the head of Jamaat ul-Fuqra group, about Reid, the shoe bombing suspect now in jail in the United States.

A spokesman for Gilani's group denied any involvement in the kidnapping, and a friend of the sheikh, Khalid Khwaja, told CNN no arrangements had ever been made with Pearl, and there are no connections between the kidnappers and Gilani, nor any with Reid. Nonetheless, Gilani turned himself in to police Wednesday.

Pakistani police announced Thursday they have taken three additional men into custody after tracing their cell phone calls. The police said nothing further about progress in the case.

In his appeal for Pearl's release, Steiger, Wall Street Journal managing editor, wrote: "Killing Danny will achieve nothing for you. His murder would be condemned by the entire world, and your group would be viewed as murderers without serious political objectives.

Steiger asked the group to "view Danny as a messenger," giving him a list of issues and grievances and allowing Pearl to make them public.

Steiger appealed to the group to consider the pleas of Pearl's wife, Marianne, who is six months pregnant with the couple's first child. She told CNN Wednesday the kidnappers should opt for dialogue, not violence..

Steiger's statement was sent to international media outlets in hopes of making it public because the kidnapper's e-mail address, printed in newspaper reports when the story first emerged, has been swamped with incoming messages and rendered inaccessible.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Management said...

World Opinion Grows More
Negative After Bush

If you care about the future of U.S. public diplomacy, join us at the USIA Alumni Association

For more recent survey results of overseas attitudes towards the U.S. see Public Diplomacy by the Numbers and What the World Thinks of America

Surveys in 21 countries,
conducted November 2004 to January 2005

Majorities in 16 of 21 countries see Bush re-election as negative for world security; animosity grows towards American people as well as government

In public opinion polls conducted in 21 countries following the re-election of George W. Bush, majorities in 16 of the 21 countries view Bush's re-election as negaive for world peace and security. Only in two countries (India and the Philippines) do majorities consider Bush's re-election in positive terms. In two other countries, a plurality (but not majority) view the re-election negatively, and in one (Poland) a plurality but not majority consider the re-election a positive step. The most negative overall opinions were recorded in Western Europe, Latin America, and Islamic countries. Nearly half of those surveyed now view the U.S. influence in the world as mostly negative. Although still a minority, growing numbers now consider the American people in negative terms and none of the publics surveyed, even those with favorable opinions of Bush's re-election, support sending their own troops to Iraq.

In a poll of 21,953 people in 21 countries, conducted between November 2004 and January 2005, a solid majority (58%) view President Bush's re-election as negative for world peace and security. Only about a quarter of those polled (26%) call the re-election a positive step.

The results indicate some traditional US allies are most negative about Bush's reelection including all western European countries polled—Germany (77% negative), France (75%), Britain (64%), though Italy is by comparison moderate at 54 percent negative. Those with strongly negative opinions also include Canada (67%) and Australia (61%). Japan, however, is noncommittal, with a plurality negative (39%), compared to 15 percent positive, but about a third (31%) saying it makes no difference 31%.

The surveys recorded majorities of negative opinion in Islamic countries and Latin America as well. In Turkey, although nominally a US ally, an overwhelming 82 percent are negative about Bush’s reelection—the highest of all countries polled. Also negative are Indonesia (68%), and Lebanon (64%). In Central and South America, which has not been a high-profile focus of U.S. policy, Argentines are 79 percent negative, as are 78 percent of Brazilians, 62 percent of Chileans and 58 percent of Mexicans. Others with majorities considering the re-elction a negative for world security include Chine (56%), South Korea (54%), and South Africa. In Russia, as in Japan, a plurality but not majority consider the re-election in negative terms, 39 to 16 percent.

Only in two countries do majorities feel good about President Bush's re-election. Strong majorities of Filipinos and Indians - 63 and 62 percent respectively - consider the re-election a positive step for world security. In Poland, a plurality but not majority (44%) view the re-election in positive terms.

The survey results suggest that Bush's re-election is causing publics overseas to reconsider their feelings towards Americans as a people. Asked how Bush’s election has affected their feelings toward the American people, on average, 42 percent said it made them feel worse toward the American people, while 25 percent said it made them feel better and 23 percent said it had no effect. Countries varied widely. In seven countries clear majorities said that it made them feel worse - especially Turkey (72%), France (65%), Brazil (59%) and Germany (56%). In only two did a majority say it has made them feel better (the Philippines 78% and India 65%). In three countries most said that it has had no effect on their feelings toward the American people - Russia (66%), Japan (62%), and Poland (55%).

While President Bush's second inaugural speech focused on the need for U.S. leadership to end tyranny in the world, the survey results suggest a large segment of the world's public does not consider the U.S. ready to take on that role. On average almost half (47%) say they now view US influence in the world as mostly negative while a somewhat smaller number (38%) view it as mostly positive and 15 percent did not answer either way. In 12 countries a majority see US influence as mostly negative, with large majorities in Argentina (65%), Germany (64%), Russia (63%), Turkey (62%), Canada (60%), and Mexico (57%).

None of the countries surveyed record anywhere near majority (or even plurality) support for sending troops to Iraq to help the U.S. On average some seven in 10 are opposed to sending their troops to Iraq. Majority opposition to sending troops to Iraq even surfaced in the Philippines (58%) and Poland (60%) which felt positive about Bush's re-election.

The research included a comparison sample of 1,000 Americans. The survey found a majority (56%) of Americans expressing the view that Bush's reelection is positive for world security, with four in 10 (39%) calling it negative. Some seven in 10 (71%) say that the US is having a mostly positive influence in the world, with a quarter of Americans (25%) saying it is mostly negative.

Survey details:
The poll of 21,953 people was conducted by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. The survey team reports that polling was conducted from 15 November 2004 to 3 January 2005, which included a a sample of 1,000 Americans. In eight of the countries the sample was limited to major metropolitan areas. The margin of error per country ranged from +/-2.5-4%.

More details about the survey, including its methods, may be found on the PIPA Web site.

12:49 PM  

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