She has adjusted her schedule and she is pretty pleased. The whole thing is almost surreal.
We had a team dinner with a great bunch of people where we laughed a lot, that was good. And the odd owner from my daughter's birthday party was in rare form last night. too funny. He had us laughing and he paid particular attention to my boss. In casual conversation I found out that my boss and I were both in the Class of 1988. Hah...
Last week I was in Buenos Aires and missed the State Department's dailly briefings.
I tried to catch up yesterday, but did not get too far.
Two things of interest:
MR. GALLEGOS: Well, Pakistan is a key partner in the war on terror. It plays a critical role in our long-term efforts to build a stable and prosperous South Asia. Shifting Foreign Military Financing that was already allocated to Pakistan for other military equipment allows Pakistan’s F-16 program, a tangible symbol of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, to continue on track. Pakistan is currently undergoing economic turmoil, including rising food and fuel prices, and this is a daunting challenge to the new civilian government. This $226-227 million funds is – was already allocated for other updates on different airframes in Pakistan. The government came to us, asked us if we could assist them, and we decided that this would be a good option for them. It would help to relieve the government, allow them to use that amount of funds for different projects of their own while providing an update that had already been – that we had already approved in 2006. So basically, what we did was we shifted funds from one set of antiterrorism projects, one set of airframes, to a different set.
In terms of what the benefits are to us, what we’re looking at is advanced avionics and radar upgrades, and communications and targeting systems that will enable real-time communication with ground forces that will generate ground position data that can be used to direct guided munitions to a target. We believe that these updates will effectively employ the F-16s. We’ll – they’ll be able to use them during nighttime operations.
The bottom line here is that we’ve shifted money to help the democratically elected Government of Pakistan to fight a common foe, a common enemy that we have. We believe that these upgrades that had already been approved will help the Pakistanis – us – will help the Pakistanis help us fight this common foe, and that we believe that this is a positive way to help a friend.
my favorite question...
QUESTION: One last question on this. How many times has Pakistan conducted air strikes against the Taliban and other militants in that area?
MR. GALLEGOS: Well, I’ll tell you what, unfortunately, I’m not with the DOD and couldn’t tell you that number. I’d refer you to them to discuss.
For me - this is interesting... actually riveting. I know how lame.
and check this out
Question On Venezuela, what is your reaction to this alliance or partnership that President Chavez from Venezuela is trying to have with Russia in relation to oil and weapons?
MR. GALLEGOS: Well, I think, number one, is we’ve seen the Venezuelans’ substantial purchases from the Russians, in terms of arms. This is something that we’ve expressed concern over. The fact is that Venezuela is expending an awful lot of resources to obtain an awful lot of military hardware, some would say much more than they actually need if you reflect on their actual defense needs. However, that’s a decision for the Venezuelan Government to make for themselves.
In terms of their relationships with Russia, they’re a sovereign state. They will have these relations with them. In terms of any gas deals or other economic issues, I think we’ve expressed our belief in the past that what we believe is that multiple sources, through multiple means of transportation, when it comes to any sort of fuel, based on the open market system, is what we’re concerned about seeing. So that would be the criteria that we would review any discussion or agreement that they may come to.
WTF - Chavez?