A story in the New York Times today reports that the U.S. is planing to buy a new fleet of F-16 jet fighters for Pakistan.
Apparently the Bush administration wants to use nearly $230 million in “counter-terrorism money.” That’s an awfully broad definition of counter terrorism.
Nevertheless, the report underscores how U.S. relations with Pakistan have come around 180 degrees since Sept. 11, 2001, when the U.S. still had harsh words and economic sanctions for the country that had tested a nuclear bomb in 1998. Back then we used to consider President Pervez Musharraf a military dictator who’d overthrown a democratically elected government.
It was a small team of lobbyists who helped lead Pakistan back into our good graces. We told you last week that Stephen Payne was among them. And we were reminded this week that Randy Scheunemann, Sen. John McCain’s top foreign policy adviser, was also helping out a few years ago, too.
Scheunemann was head of the two-man lobbying shop called Orion Strategies back in 2002 when they signed on to lobby for International Business & Energy Development Corp., a firm run by Payne.
Specifically, the bill — which ultimately passed — said any law that “prohibits direct assistance to a country whose duly elected head of government was deposed by decree or military coup shall not apply with respect to Pakistan.”
These days, Scheunemann likes to talk tough about dealing with the “situation” in Pakistan.
Between 2001 and 2003, Scheunemann’s firm was paid about $80,000 for its work for International Business & Energy Development Corp, lobbying disclosure reports show.
Scheunemann stopped working for Payne on Pakistan-related issues in 2003, according to Senate lobbing disclosure reports.