Nose dive in Pak-US relations

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Malik Ashraf

The relations between Pakistan and the US have touched the lowest ebb due to the nose-dive in them triggered by the irresponsible, undiplomatic and the lose-cannon like behavior of President Trump who instead of looking for the inadequacies and flaws of the US policy being pursued in Afghanistan for the last sixteen years, is bent upon accusing Pakistan as a fall guy for its failures and punishing her, unmindful of the dangers and the consequences that it might unfurl.
The book ‘Fire and Fury’ written by Michael Wolf about one year of President Trump in the White House has pointed out the impulsiveness of President Trump and his personality traits. The author believes that the revelations made by him in his book were filtering into the public consciousness and would result in his term in the office cut short. The fact unraveled by the author in the book cannot be dismissed lightly. Taken in the context of global peace and security, the impulsiveness of the President of the only super power in the world presents a very dreadful spectacle. Only a mad man could do what he is doing and has done during the last one year. He has pulled US out of its global commitments and agreements like the international conference on environment held in Paris, the nuclear deal with Iran and created a war like situation with North Korea besides taking a bizarre decision to accord recognition to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel’ a perfect recipe to destabilize the entire region and killing the prospect of peace for ever. He is like a bull in the china shop which would not only destroy everything arrayed in there but in the process would also get badly bruised himself.
It is pertinent to point out that the relations between the two countries have invariably remained vulnerable to fluctuation depending on how the US perceived a particular situation and the indiscretions committed by her. Pakistan has always remained on the receiving end. But none of the US administrations has ever gone to the extent in pillorying Pakistan the way Trump is doing. Even The New York Times which is considered to be the mouth piece of the US administration and the Pentagon and ever ready to support and augment their actions at the global level has in its latest editorial differed with the approach unfurled by Trump in regards to dealing with Pakistan underlying the indispensability of Pakistan if a solution to the Afghan conundrum was desired to be found. The paper has advised the US administration to adopt diplomatic means and continued engagement with Pakistan to sort out the issues and kinks in the relations between the two countries.
The suspension of the military assistance and withholding the CSF funds are not going to resolve the issue and change the obtaining scenario. The response given by Pakistan to the threats and the bullying attitude of the Trump administration is though very measured and restrained but it does reflect the sentiments of the entire nation who refuses to be bullied and is determined to uphold its dignity and sovereignty on which there would be no compromise. The civilian, military and political leadership of the country are unanimous on this point. The military in case of any adventurous act by the US has also indicated its readiness to deal with it through a matching response. However the entire leadership is still prepared to remain engaged with the super power to find a solution to the Afghan conundrum which was in the best interest of Pakistan.
Needless to emphasize that Pakistan has suffered the most in this war and fought it like its own war sacrificing 70 thousand lives and sustaining a loss of $ 120 billion which was colossal by any standards and irrefutably established Pakistan’s credentials as an honest partner in the war against terrorism. Pakistan would be the last country to wish the continuation of terrorism in the region and instability in Afghanistan which was badly affecting peace and security within its own territory. It is my considered view that US was treading a wrong path that its policies would strike an irreparable blow to her strategic interests in the region by consigning it to perennial instability. Its continued pressure on Pakistan and pushing it to the wall would also have a boomerang effect. The New York Times also has pointed the fact that US could not afford to abandon Pakistan. It cannot change the geographical realities with all the might at its disposal. The US therefore needs to revisit its new approach in regards to finding a solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and its relations with Pakistan.
The dilemma for Pakistan is that it cannot afford confrontation with the sole super power of the world and some kind of engagement was absolutely unavoidable to ward off the negative impact of the rupture in relations between the two countries. While Pakistan must try its utmost to remain engaged with the US administration through diplomatic channels it must also try to revisit its future relations with the US. Pakistan belongs to the South Asian region and its security and economic prosperity is inextricably linked to this region. Unlike the past it has to focus more on relations with the countries of the region. The efforts to warm up relations with Russia and Iran are the steps in the right direction. China and Turkey are already time-tested and trusted friends of Pakistan and the former has on various occasions also indicated its readiness to safeguard her security. The CPEC makes them perennial allies.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.

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