The midterm elections have also exposed a dangerous American White-versus-Black (KKK) fault line where Trump/Republicans got majority of white votes, whereas Democrats secured majority of Latinos, Afro-Asian-American votes and regained majority in the House of Representatives after 8 years.
Trump’s most recent interview to Fox News and idiosyncratic tweets belittling Pakistan and undermining Pakistan’s greatest contributions and sacrifices in men, material and money in War against terrorism earned him a lot of ire from Pakistan. Representing public sentiments Prime Minister Imran Khan gave a tit-for-tat response through tweets, followed by demarche’ to US Charge D’affaires in Islamabad by MoFA , statements from COAS and DG ISPR underscoring Pakistan’s supreme sacrifices and successes.
After the critical decision to join and support the US for its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Pakistan has remained a whipping boy and a scapegoat for American Administration’s continued failures in Afghanistan. It has become more of a ritual to off and on hurl some baseless allegations on Pakistan but coming from a POTUS as idiosyncratic as Mr. Trump , who is by now notorious for his weird and offensive body language and impetuous outbursts has once again given a red face to his own Department of Defence and State Department, who were quick to rebut Trump by acknowledging Pakistan’s vital role for peace and stability in South Asia, critical support for the success of US Asian-Pacific Policy and more specifically for peace in Afghanistan through a negotiated political solution.
Trump’s baseless allegations are at best an admission of his arrogant ignorance as a large number of statements from American civil and military leadership and even book writers defy what he found convenient to spit out. The timings of Trump’s harangue couldn’t be worst as his equally double edged Afghan-American special representative Zalmay Khalilzad has just been enabled and assisted by Pakistan to have a three day meeting with the Afghan Taliban in Qatar, giving a ray of hope for some political reconciliation in Afghanistan. While some skeptical deep thinkers may see a plan in such ill-timed invective by Trump, others may prefer to keep moving while Trump Tweets.
Donald Trump is perhaps the most criticised and controversial US president, who also just lost majority in the Lower House of the US Congress in the midterm elections after two turbulent years of presidency. Moreover, this is likely to bring him under some control and strict oversight by the House of representatives with regards to foreign policy, money spending, use of military as an imperialistic tool and above all on inquiries underway with respect to Russian-Trump nexus during the US Presidential elections might help Democrats to take the first step for his impeachment.
It is matter of pride and solace that after 17 years, the US and Afghanistan appear to follow what Pakistan has been suggesting for over a decade i.e. find an Afghan owned Afghan led all inclusive political solution to the Afghan imbroglio. Therefore, as for Pakistan, while keeping tempers under check and responses proportionate, focus should remain on long term strategic commonality of goals of peace and stability in the region.
The midterm elections have also exposed a dangerous American White-versus-Black (KKK) fault line where Trump/Republicans got majority of white votes, whereas Democrats secured majority of Latinos, Afro-Asian-American votes and regained majority in the House of Representatives after 8 years. Consequently, from January 3, 2019, onwards Trump will not have a free ride like the one he enjoyed in the first two years of his reign. Under Mr Trump, ‘American leadership’ has rapidly become an oxymoron at best or, at worst, synonymous with the idiosyncrasies of one of the world’s great narcissists. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that anyone who declares themselves to be a ‘stable genius’ probably isn’t. How much difference can one person make in defining the foreign and domestic policies of what is still the most powerful nation on earth? Will Trump be ‘socialised’ into the ways of international diplomacy and recognise America’s long-term interests, or will he entrench the dysfunction of America’s domestic politics and possibly extend it to the international arena?
Pakistan’s sacrifices, contributions and successes in the War against Terror at the cost of almost 80 thousand human casualties, US $123 Billion economic losses and a great socio-psycho price beyond any measure are well known all over the world and especially by the US and its NATO Allies who abandoned the US in Afghanistan in 2014 in the face of obvious odds. Even US Intelligence’s high claims of successes against AQ are based on support and successes of Pakistan’s prime Intelligence Agency ISI. Despite their malice, the US military understands quite clearly that without active operational and logistic support of the Pakistan Armed Forces, they and their allies couldn’t have survived even for a much shorter period: what to talk of staying for 17 long years in an Afghanistan plagued by leech like warlords, drug-barons, smugglers, thugs and slippery tongued ever manipulative puppet rulers.
It is matter of pride and solace that after 17 years, the US and Afghanistan appear to follow what Pakistan has been suggesting for over a decade i.e. find an Afghan owned Afghan led all inclusive political solution to the Afghan imbroglio. Therefore, as for Pakistan, while keeping tempers under check and responses proportionate, focus should remain on long term strategic commonality of goals of peace and stability in the region. Pakistan enjoys much leverage including triple lines of communication, continued role and successes in war against terror, supporting role for peace in Afghanistan, other strategic partners in the region, a most resilient Nation, war hardened bravest Armed Forces, fiercely independent Judiciary and a functional democratic Government under a self respecting proud Prime Minister — which when put to use as a cohesive strong internal front can counter any misadventure let alone any thoughtless provocation caused by Mr Trump. US Administration is expected to keep Mr Trump well briefed and it would be wise not to lose an old strategic ally due to imprudent misperceptions. The pride of a nation cannot be undermined by a foolish rant, Mr Trump!
The writer is a senior retired Army officer with rich experience in Military & Intelligence Diplomacy and Strategic Analysis and he can be reached at email@example.com.