Pak – US Relations (Part – 3)

Clinton Administration’s plan to get Pakistan to sign CTBT

As we’ve talked about, the end of the second romance between Pakistan and the US was when the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989. The US put the Pressler sanctions on Pakistan right away, which stopped all military help and new economic aid. And to make things worse, it wouldn’t let 28 F-16s that were built, paid for, and ready to be sent out. It also wouldn’t give back $658 that had already been paid for the planes. It took almost five years for Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts to persuade the US that it was in both countries’ best interests to work together at least on anti-terrorism and anti-drug efforts, that Pakistan could help keep peace in trouble spots all over the world, and that it was wrong to hold back items (other than F-16s) that had been paid for long ago. The Clinton Administration did give in, but it did so because it was part of its plan to get Pakistan to sign the CTBT. So, in 1995, Congress passed the Brown Amendment, which gave the Administration permission to work with Pakistan more on fighting terrorism and drug trafficking and to release $368 million worth of military equipment that Pakistan had bought and paid for before the Pressler sanctions. Even though there were claims that China gave Pakistan nuclear and missile parts and technology, the change was still passed. The $368 million worth of equipment that was released included F-16 extra parts and ammunition, but not the 28 F-16 planes that had already been paid for in 1989. It also made exceptions to the embargo for some kinds of help, like fighting drugs, military-to-military contact, training, humanitarian and community projects, peacekeeping and other international obligations, and helping fight terrorism. (Most of the time, their funding came with wording in the law saying that they had to be done “regardless of any other law”). But even though the release helped the industrial base grow, Pakistan’s efforts to modernize the Armed Forces were greatly hampered by limited financial resources and a number of penalties.

It took almost five years for Pakistan to convince the US that at least working together against terrorism and drugs was good for both countries.

Nuclear Tests: a big setback for US-Pakistan ties

Pakistan kept begging for a decade, but no one would give them back 28 planes or give them back $658 million. When India did nuclear tests in May 1998, the US gave in with some conditions. India boldly told Pakistan not to do tit-for-tat tests because it wanted to show that it was stronger than Pakistan. It couldn’t have been any more rude! Pakistan turned down this fake offer. It thought that having nuclear weapons was a good way to stop nuclear India. This made the US very angry and gave them another reason to play wolf and lamb with Pakistan again. So, the nuclear tests were a big setback for US-Pakistan ties, which had been getting better during the second Clinton administration when the US became more interested in Pakistan. At that time, Pakistan was facing a number of limits on aid because of the Pressler Amendment and the Symington Amendment. These restrictions were put in place because Pakistan had a nuclear explosive device and had received uranium enrichment equipment.

Stoppages of loans from IMF/ World Bank

Both India and Pakistan were hit with Glenn Amendment penalties within a few days. So, under the Foreign Assistance Act, the US stopped giving help to both of the nuclear neighbors, including help with economic growth. Under the Arms Export Control Act, military sales to other countries were stopped. The US government stopped giving credit and guaranteeing credit. India and Pakistan could no longer get loans from US banks. Loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were also stopped. And exports of nuclear or missile things with more than one use were not allowed. In July 1998, just three months after the Glenn Amendment sanctions went into effect, Congress rushed to pass a law that gave India and Pakistan a one-year exemption from the Glenn Amendment restrictions on buying agricultural goods from US farmers. This was done in response to pressure from the farmers’ lobby at home. The India-Pakistan Relief Act of 1998, also known as Brownback-I, was also passed by Congress the next day. This law gave the President the power to lift the Glenn, Symington, and Pressler amendment sanctions against India and Pakistan for a time of one year, except for the restrictions on military aid, exports with more than one use, and military sales.

Brownback I & II

In October 1998, Brownback-I was signed into law. Pakistan said in September 1998 that it would sign the CTBT by September 1999, but only if certain things were met. In November 1998, President Clinton used his waiver power under Brownback I to bring back some non-military aid projects in India and remove restrictions on what US banks could do in India and Pakistan. In June 1999, Congress passed Brownback-II, which gave the President the power to waive penalties permanently. Since 1990, the Symington and Pressler amendments had made it illegal for the U.S. government to give Pakistan any kind of military or economic help. The amendment also gave the President the power to ignore those restrictions. Brownback II made it possible to get back the money that was paid up front for 28 F-16s ten years ago. Six months later, the Administration decided to give back only $ 467 million in cash and the rest in kind, in the form of grains. And the US’s self-declared non-NATO friend breathed a sigh of relief, even though the way the money was returned was completely crazy.

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