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Everything boils down to money

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    Everything boils down to money

    Pakistan is shelling out $30,000 a month for the services of Charlie Wilson, a former Democratic Congressman from Texas who was a staunch ally of the country when he served in the House. Even though Mr. Wilson cautioned the Pakistani government last year about hiring another lobbyist -- given that "Pakistan's resources are limited," Mr. Wilson wrote in a memorandum -- just this month, Pakistan signed a contract with the politically connected law firm of Patton, Boggs & Blow for $22,500 a month.

    The person handling Pakistan's account is a former Clinton special counsel, Lanny J. Davis, who helped the White House navigate the 1996 Democratic fund-raising imbroglio.

    Mr. Davis said in an interview that he had talked to the White House and the State Department, although he would not reveal which officials he had approached, about adding a stop in Pakistan when Mr. Clinton visits the Indian subcontinent next month. To spurn a visit, Mr. Davis said, "would be conveying a message of hostility, and pushing Pakistan in a dangerous direction away from the West and toward the Taliban."

    "They keep thinking it's just a matter of hiring the right lobbyist, that the right lobbyist will be their salvation," Robert Oakley, a retired American diplomat, said about Pakistan, where he served as ambassador from 1988-1991.

    And sometimes the right lobbyist may indeed make a difference.

    Consider the battle last fall over legislation that would allow for the resumption of United States military aid to Pakistan. Since 1990, military assistance had been suspended because of Pakistan's nuclear program. On top of that, economic sanctions were imposed on Pakistan after it tested nuclear bombs in 1998.

    Last year, the Senate's defense appropriations bill had a provision that would allow the president to waive the sanctions against Pakistan; the House bill did not have a similar provision. When the bill went to conference committee, Mr. Wilson went to work.

    "I worked day and night," Mr. Wilson said. "I moved to the Hill," he added, passing time on a park bench, waiting to catch members.

    And Mr. Wilson was up against a few negatives on the Pakistan side of the ledger: Pakistan had recently tested its nuclear weapons; Pakistani-backed guerrillas had crossed into the Kargil region of the disputed territory of Kashmir last year, bringing international condemnation and the threat of outright war with India; then, in the midst of the Congressional deliberations, came the military coup -- or "political sea change," as Mr. Wilson carefully depicts it.

    In arguing his client's cause during the congressional fight, Mr. Wilson hurled some tough charges. India had been "virtually a Soviet satellite," during the cold war, Mr. Wilson said he told representatives, a depiction he repeated with emphasis for use in the current row. Another aspersion was that "Indians hate Americans," he said, a charge most Indians would probably dispute.

    But Mr. Wilson had something else going for him. While a member of Congress, he had served for 20 years on the defense subcommittee of the House appropriations committee. The members of this subcommittee were on the conference committee.

    "I was extremely lucky," Mr. Wilson said. "They were all friends."

    Mr. Wilson, and his client, won that day.

    Now, the challenge for Mr. Wilson is to keep Pakistan off the State Department's list of terrorist nations, and to persuade Mr. Clinton that he must stop in Pakistan, however briefly, during the India trip. Once again, his colleague for 20 years in the House, Mr. Solarz, is on the other side, as is Verner, Liipfert.

    On one thing, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Solarz agree: Mr. Clinton would like to make the stop. Mr. Wilson's mission is to give him the political cover to do it; Mr. Solarz's is to stop it.

    That would be "inappropriate and counterproductive," Mr. Solarz said. He minces no words. Pakistan is a "terrorist state," and now it has a military government. Mr. Solarz has already made these views known to the White House and the State Department, as well as to his former colleagues in Congress.

    Mr. Wilson is equally busy, trying to generate a letter from enough members of Congress urging the president to make the stop.

    Is he also talking to State Department officials? "Not more than four or five times a day," he answers.

    It took a long time for you to understand. Though never too late! LOL

    Fata Morgana


      Hmmmm i tried this theory and boiled an egg. but it did not boil down to money...I just got a hard boiled egg.

      Can that be used as currency? :>
      The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.