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Action Alert - Who wants an F16 for Christmas?
Peace Movement AotearoaPO Box 9314, Wellington. Tel (04) 382 8129, fax (04) 382 8173, firstname.lastname@example.org
Issued 1 October 1998
21 December 1998
Well it is the season of gift giving, and a report from Jane's Defence Weekly Briefs this morning made us wonder if we are about to receive benefits from the change in the US government's policy towards Pakistan.
As you may recall, the NZ government's recent decision to lease / purchase F16 warplanes from the US government was met with some consternation by the government of Pakistan who actually own the planes. Despite their having paid for them, they have not been delivered because of the US government's disapproval of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme which culminated in their nuclear weapons test earlier in the year (that's the Pakistani test we're talking about - not the ongoing US ones, all this hypocrisy is very confusing don't you think ?).
Today has come the announcement that the US has partially lifted the sanctions placed on Pakistan, and the Pakistani military will now be permitted to play in the US International Military Education and Training programme. We wonder how this change of position will affect the F16s - will they now be delivered to Pakistan ? While we would be overjoyed if they didn't come here, it has to be said the prospect of them going to Pakistan (or anywhere else for that matter) is not at all joyous.
And more news of F16s purchases - Portugal is to double its F16 flock with the purchase of an additional 25 at a cost of US $268 million ... and the United Arab Emirates wish to purchase 80 (yes, that is eighty) at a cost of US $6.7 billion, but it isn't clear whether they'll get them as they also want the electronic warfare system software codes which the US refuses to divulge. This raises another interesting question in our minds - if the NZ government does succeed in its bid to lease/purchase the US/ Pakistani F16s, will the air force be given these elusive codes ? What will they do with them ?
Of course, the most interesting question is what on earth the NZ government would do next if the US decided they need to impress Pakistan more than us, and Shipley et al were to be denied their precious warplanes ... would we end up having a third/fourth/fifth frigate instead ?