“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

US outpolls India as main threat to Pakistan. Pakistan leads World in nuclear weapon production. US to give$7.5 billion in aid.

U.S. Accuses Pakistan of Altering Missiles

Published: August 29, 2009
New York Times

WASHINGTON — The United States has accused Pakistan of illegally modifying American-made missiles to expand its capability to strike land targets, a potential threat to India, according to senior administration and Congressional officials.

The charge, which set off a new outbreak of tensions between the United States and Pakistan, was made in an unpublicized diplomatic protest in late June to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and other top Pakistani officials.

The accusation comes at a particularly delicate time, when the administration is asking Congress to approve $7.5 billion in aid to Pakistan over the next five years, and when Washington is pressing a reluctant Pakistani military to focus its attentions on fighting the Taliban, rather than expanding its nuclear and conventional forces aimed at India.

While American officials say that the weapon in the latest dispute is a conventional one — based on the Harpoon antiship missiles that were sold to Pakistan by the Reagan administration as a defensive weapon in the cold war — the subtext of the argument is growing concern about the speed with which Pakistan is developing new generations of both conventional and nuclear weapons.

“There’s a concerted effort to get these guys to slow down,” one senior administration official said. “Their energies are misdirected.”

At issue is the detection by American intelligence agencies of a suspicious missile test on April 23 — a test never announced by the Pakistanis — that appeared to give the country a new offensive weapon.

American military and intelligence officials say they suspect that Pakistan has modified the Harpoon antiship missiles that the United States sold the country in the 1980s, a move that would be a violation of the Arms Control Export Act. Pakistan has denied the charge, saying it developed the missile itself. The United States has also accused Pakistan of modifying American-made P-3C aircraft for land-attack missions, another violation of United States law that the Obama administration has protested.

Whatever their origin, the missiles would be a significant new entry into Pakistan’s arsenal against India. They would enable Pakistan’s small navy to strike targets on land, complementing the sizable land-based missile arsenal that Pakistan has developed. That, in turn, would be likely to spur another round of an arms race with India that the United States has been trying, unsuccessfully, to halt. “The focus of our concern is that this is a potential unauthorized modification of a maritime antiship defensive capability to an offensive land-attack missile,” said another senior administration official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter involves classified information.

“The potential for proliferation and end-use violations are things we watch very closely,” the official added. “When we have concerns, we act aggressively.”

A senior Pakistani official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity because the interchanges with Washington have been both delicate and highly classified, said the American accusation was “incorrect.” The official said that the missile tested was developed by Pakistan, just as it had modified North Korean designs to build a range of land-based missiles that could strike India. He said that Pakistan had taken the unusual step of agreeing to allow American officials to inspect the country’s Harpoon inventory to prove that it had not violated the law, a step that administration officials praised.

Some experts are also skeptical of the American claims. Robert Hewson, editor of Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, a yearbook and Web-based data service, said the Harpoon missile did not have the necessary range for a land-attack missile, which would lend credibility to Pakistani claims that they are developing their own new missile. Moreover, he said, Pakistan already has more modern land-attack missiles that it developed itself or acquired from China.

“They’re beyond the need to reverse-engineer old U.S. kit,” Mr. Hewson said in a telephone interview. “They’re more sophisticated than that.” Mr. Hewson said the ship-to-shore missile that Pakistan was testing was part of a concerted effort to develop an array of conventional missiles that could be fired from the air, land or sea to address India’s much more formidable conventional missile arsenal.

The dispute highlights the level of mistrust that remains between the United States and a Pakistani military that American officials like to portray as an increasingly reliable partner in the effort to root out the forces of the Taliban and Al Qaeda on Pakistani territory. A central element of the American effort has been to get the military refocused on the internal threat facing the country, rather than on threat the country believes it still faces from India.

Pakistani officials have insisted that they are making that shift. But the evidence continues to point to heavy investments in both nuclear and conventional weapons that experts say have no utility in the battle against insurgents.

Over the years, the United States has provided a total of 165 Harpoon missiles to Pakistan, including 37 of the older-model weapons that were delivered from 1985 to 1988, said Charles Taylor, a spokesman for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The country’s nuclear arsenal is expanding faster than any other nation’s. In May, Pakistan conducted a test firing of its Babur medium-range cruise missile, a weapon that military experts say could potentially be tipped with a nuclear warhead. The test was conducted on May 6, during a visit to Washington by President Asif Ali Zardari, but was not made public by Pakistani officials until three days after the meetings had ended to avoid upsetting the talks. While it may be technically possible to arm the Harpoons with small nuclear weapons, outside experts say it would probably not be necessary.

Before Congress departed for its summer recess, administration officials briefed crucial legislators on the protest to Pakistan. The dispute has the potential to delay or possibly even derail the legislation to provide Pakistan with $7.5 billion in civilian aid over five years; lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the aid package when they return from their recess next month.

The legislation is sponsored by Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the top Democrat and Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Representative Howard L. Berman, a California Democrat who leads the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressional aides are now reconciling House and Senate versions of the legislation.

Frederick Jones, a spokesman for Mr. Kerry, declined to comment on the details of the dispute citing its classified nature but suggested that the pending multifaceted aid bill would clear Congress “in a few weeks” and would help cooperation between the two countries.

“There have been irritants in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in the past and there will be in the future,” Mr. Jones said in a statement, noting that the pending legislation would provide President Obama “with new tools to address troubling behavior.”


  1. Put those three sentences together and explain the Obama policy on missile defense, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

  2. "We" like policies that don't work because they ignore the basic nature of the people involved.

    Another example:
    55. Disillusionist:

    As a nearly lifelong resident of Massachusetts, I can assure you (to paraphrase Steve Nelson) that if Jeffrey Dahmer had run as a Democrat in this state, we would have been assured that he suffered from “an eating disorder”. Two of our last three Speakers of the House have ended up in jail. No one is surprised. Like California, Massachusetts is a perfect example of what a one-party state will get you- taxes.

    (And, BTW, Romneycare is costing triple it’s original estimate, has had a marginal impact on the number of uninsured, and no impact whatsoever on the emergency room population. So you can see where Obamacare will end up).

  3. It's decreased the % of uninsured by about 300%.

    The fact remains: Massachusetts has the Best Health Care in the Nation.

    I'm not sure why it Should have any impact on Emergency Room use. They are, after all, "Emergency" Rooms.

  4. As for Obumble, I know he's a Communist, and I, really, strongly, believe he's a Muslim, and, I suspect he would like to bring America into "Submission."

    I think we hit the "Trifecta."

  5. Perhaps, that's why he wants to destroy the CIA.

  6. "I'm not sure why it Should have any impact on Emergency Room use. They are, after all, "Emergency" Rooms."
    One of your arguments was that we spend money in ER's on uninsured that would be saved with socialized medicine.

  7. How about an update on Real World mileage you get w/your Chevy, Rufus?

  8. Somebody tell me what to do. We're looking for a car, going back east, its driving me nuts. I'm thinking another Nissan Sentra 17k and a 5k pickup when we get back there to haul stuff.

    I've figured out that Rufus is Jack Germond, reincarnated, except Germond hasn't died, so it must be Germond, duplicated.

    Their political style is a lot a like, in a way, quite laid back.

    My aunt used to love to listen to the McLaughlin Group. Loved the guy.

  9. I'm getting about 21.5 mpg, Doug. 26 on E10. That means I'm giving up about 17.3%; but, since you can buy E85 for 18 - 22% less than gas most places (Arkansas is running about 20% less) it's an okay deal.

    I imagine the savings will be more next year when gasoline is over $3.00. And, I imagine, even better after that.

    One thing's for sure, I'd rather do my business with a Mississippi farmer than with Bin Laden's backers.

  10. I'd look at the flexfuel Impala, Bob. It's a comfortable ride, and affordable to own/drive.

    I think Ford's offering a flexfuel Fusion this year. If so, I'd look at that, too.

    I would get better mileage than what I do, except my wife drives the Chevy a lot more than I do; and she has her own unique way of driving. Hint: There's Two pedals down there, and "One" of them is getting a work-out at any given time.

  11. I never lobbied for "socialized" medicine, Doug. I said that everyone should have insurance, available, and should be required to carry it.

    I did admit that the poor would have to be subsidized, but we're doing that, now.

    Doug, my guess would be that some folks with "chronic" ailments will have to use the Emergency Room, less; however, I think that some people, by nature of having insurance, will, actually, use it more. In either case, it'll probably take a few years for it all to shake out.

    I'm Certain of one thing: I'd rather get sick in Massachusetts than Mississippi.

  12. I've decided not to buy a Government Motors Car so I'll look at the Fusion. Same dealership, a few blocks away.


  13. Yeah, I always liked Jack Germond, also.

    And, I AM getting just about as Fat as him.

  14. I knew that was you. Sorry, I missed your call my phone must have been on vibrate. But, I did sense your email through someone here.

    Glad to see you're back.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Ah, forget that "Government" Motors, crap. Buy the car that's best for you and your wife.

    The only way Ford dodged that deal is Mullaly (sp?) saw it coming and borrowed a lot of money while the borrowing was good.

    But, I'm telling you, get a flexfuel. If gas goes down you use gas. No harm, no foul. If gas goes UP, you use E85 (I know you probably don't have it in Moscow, yet; but you will.)

    Flexfuels sell for the same price, and you have some added insurance.

  17. For whatever is the motivating reason, Team Obamamerica is continuing the Bush Team policies with regards to Pakistan.

    We have a bi-partisan policy that is hard to understand, if one believes that Pakistan is at the root of the aQ experiences of 9-11-01, which I do.

    No one has been able to provide any indicator that they were not. None that could even begin to convince me they are not culpable in that border raid.

    And we have since paid them well, and the Pakistani have not delivered the goods. Not even made a token payment, in kind.

  18. You're not far from Lewiston, Ideeho, right?

    They have a station that sells E85. Don't know the price, though.

    You, normally, want to buy at 18 - 20% discount to the cheapest E10. Although, in all honesty, a dollar, or so, on a fillup, today, probably isn't going to break too many people.

  19. It's the Stinker Sinclair on

    124 Thain Rd.

  20. There are several locations in Oregon. You live close to the state line, right?

    There are stations in Portland, Happy Valley, Cornelius, Klamath Falls, Aurora, Milwaukee, Oak Grove, and Eugene.

    Some of these have pretty good prices.

  21. Of course, when you drive through Iowa you're in Hog (er, corn, er, ethanol) Heaven.

  22. Rufus,

    What's wrong with Baptist Memorial Health Care (BMHCC)? Everyone in my family has been born in Baptist Memorial and anyone seriously ill has been treated there. Successfully, unless terminal. BMHCC has North Mississipi covered like kudzu! So if i were to get sick (rather not) I'd much rather be in Mississippi. Anyway, Massachusetts would undoubtedly MAKE me sick!

  23. Ah, they're fine, Willie. I guess the point I was trying to make is that if I lost my healthcare, tomorrow, and had a serious condition, I would rather be in Massachusetts.

    If I had Cancer Baptist would treat me. But, if my Doctor said, "Rufus, you need to have a colonoscopy, and a few thousand dollars more tests done, I'd have to hope that my hip pocket was deep enough to cover it.

    This IS America, and we really do have, by far, the best hospitals, clinics, and Doctors in the world; but, some of our people are getting a pretty short stick. I'd just like to see a little "tweaking" done.

    And, no, I'm not in favor of Obumble's "Communization" plan, at all. If it gets to a vote in the Senate, I intend to do some heavy-duty "citizen-lobbying" against it.

    If they can get the "Government" option out of it, then I intend to take another look at it.

  24. MLD :)

    I'm in Lewiston, Moscow is 30 miles away. I know the Stinker Station. Everything here now has some % maybe five or something, doesn't say, just this fuel contains ethanol. We'll be moving soon, putting this place on the market, though it's not going to sell.

    I've never heard of a truly termnal case being successfully treated yet. Kinda like my pastor always says, he's never seen the estate hauled along behind the hearse.

  25. J, Willie, I hate ALL politicians. The Republicans are just as much a bunch of worthless, liars, as the Democrats ever thought of being.

    If you adjust out the way we count even the tiniest Preemie as a living birth, and take out Accidental/Violent Deaths our "life expectancy" is as long as anyone else's in the world.

    If you get cancer in America you'll make it to 5 years more often than "Anywhere" on Earth. However, since we usually "catch it" earlier that could be expected. Do people in America that come down with Breast Cancer "Live longer" than, say, Frenchmen? Don't know. Nobody ever says.

    The point I'm making is "All those lying Assholes" have their own sets of "statistics." You can bet, most of them are misleading.

    The Dems say, "47 Million," knowing they're including a lot of people (like Illegal Aliens) that shouldn't be there.

    Then, the Republicans say, "We'll give'm a "Tax Credit," and let'em buy across State Lines." Like a poor, out of work, sick twenty-something needs a "tax credit," or a chance to be turned down by an "out of state" insurance company.

    It's the "Ugly" season, J Willie. I'm not holding out much hope.

  26. I guess this is just another example of Rufus's "Obsession" with oil, eh?

  27. Oops, wrong thread. :-0