Tough calls

In shift, U.S. to sell F-16 jets to Pakistan: India also will get planes but is upset about move

Anti-Bushies will gleefully point out the folly of selling American war machinery to all comers.

The United States has agreed to sell sophisticated F-16 fighter planes to both India and its next-door rival Pakistan, administration officials said Friday, and India immediately expressed displeasure to President Bush.

The diplomatically sensitive move — which the administration was ready to announce later Friday — rewards Pakistan for help in the war on terrorism but angers India, a U.S. ally and a fellow democracy.

But critics will probably overlook the multilateral angle of this conflict. Pakistan is an ally (of sorts) in the war. India has been an ally (of sorts) for some time.

They aren’t friends, to say the least and they’ve both got nuclear weapons.

We want their help, and in the case of Pakistan, that help is crucial to a meaningful, lasting victory in Afghanistan. So, do we sell them planes? Let the Rooskies sell them planes? The Chinese? Arms embargo one or the other? Embargo both? Sell the Indians even MORE planes? This highlights some of the problems of a multilateral approach. Tough decisions must be made.