The USA had originally stopped an already paid-for sale of F-16 fighter-attack aircraft to Pakistan two decades ago because the South Asian nation was developing nuclear weapons. Now that Pakistan HAS developed the N-weapons, President Bush has approved the sale of nuclear-capable F-16s to that country.
As I mentioned in an earlier posting USA – Consistently Inconsistent! the sheer inconsistency and illogic of American foreign policy has been nothing more than prostitution of its good world leadership and commonsense.
Just because Pakistan played footsy with the USA during the latter's Afghan adventure, Bush believes it is appropriate to reward a country with such a nuclear weapon capable platform as the F-16. Pakistan has a history of bellicosity with its neighbour, India. Contrary to what some assumed to be a new environment of amity between the two South Asian nations, the hostility has been very deep and, unfortunately continues to exist enduringly and threateningly.
The only reason why Pakistan had succumbed to American demands that it joined the anti-Taliban and anti-al Qaeda Coalition had been nothing more than Pakistani self preservation. Pakistan had assessed that an enraged America immediately post 9/11 in alliance with an anti-terrorist and anti-Pakistani India were far too intimidating for its own good. It HAD to ‘temporarily’ come across to the American side (with the unhappy implication that it could then be on the same side as arch foe India) for political expediency rather than genuine support of the USA.
It awaits an opportune moment to resume its alliance with the Taliban-Afghanistan, so necessary for its strategic objective of, and life-long obsession with Kashmir. The eventual reckoning with giant India requires Pakistan to have space (to trade for time, hence Afghanistan) and resources (Taliban) to fight its nemesis. Taliban-Afghanistan had provided and will once again provide that essential strategic factor in Pakistan quest for Kashmir.
To discern the substantiveness of its membership in the Coalition of the Convenient, one need only assess the sincerity of Pakistan’s efforts in tracking down Osama bin Laden who still lurks comfortably in its remote regions. Many Pakistani officials continue to close one eye to the activities and movements of the Saudi renegade, while dragging their feet over the hunt for him. The local support for Osama and the Taliban in Pakistan continues to be very strong.
Pakistan is a country that has been totally irresponsible with its nuclear programme, providing unfettered access to the technology to other dodgy and dangerous countries - it continues to deny IAEA and US access to AQ Khan so that they may assess what has been the unpleasant fallout of the maverick technology transfer.
The assets of the forthcoming F-16 will only threaten South Asian regional security, rather than improve it as Washington has the brazen gall to even suggest.