News Release

Pakistan

The Dawn (one of the largest newspapers in Pakistan) is reporting: “A day after Washington confirmed suspending $255 million of military aid to Pakistan, U.S. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that the actions being taken against Islamabad are a follow-up to Donald Trump’s South Asia policy announced last year.”

JUNAID AHMAD, [currently in the U.S.] junaidsahmad at gmail.com
Ahmad is assistant professor at the University of Lahore in Pakistan, and Secretary-General of the International Movement for a Just World. See Ahmed’s recent interview on The Real News.

He said today: “President Donald Trump’s first tweet of the year concerned none of the other ‘usual suspects’ of international ‘rogue’ nations routinely targeted for the president’s wrath: North Korea, Iran, or a China, or a Venezuela. No, this tweet concerned one of the older scapegoats for America’s travails in the ‘Af-Pak’ theatre in the ‘war on terrorism’, that ‘most dangerous country on earth,’: Pakistan. Trump’s sudden outburst repeated more colorfully the hackneyed refrains that Islamabad is all too familiar with by now: more diplomatic-sounding jargon now replaced by language such as ‘lies’ and ‘deceit’ in claiming that Pakistan has taken billions from Washington yet still is supporting terrorists and militants.

“But the timing of this sudden eruption from Trump, though of course a phenomena with which we’ve become all too familiar, seems to be deeply rooted in the shifting global geopolitical balance of power. For all of the Washington policy talk of wishing to ‘stabilize’ Afghanistan, there has been nothing to show for — with a popularly reviled occupation, overseeing a weak central government engaged in endemic corruption and incompetence in meeting basic needs of ordinary Afghans. And most importantly, there is the rising strength and reach of the ‘Taliban’ – increasingly, a meaningless ‘bogey man’ term deployed to refer to what should otherwise be generally known as the ethnicashtun resistance to foreign occupation. Indeed, in a somewhat more serious way to try to stabilize the Afghan polity and society, China has stepped up to the plate over the past few weeks and enabled what is a breakthrough: bringing Kabul and Islamabad to the table, along with Beijing, to discuss a diplomatic and political resolution to Afghanistan’s travails. The talks were showing some promise, alongside commitments for heavy Chinese investment into Afghanistan.

“But this seemed to have been intolerable for two parties which continue to view the Kabul government as their client regime: New Delhi and Washington. For the Indian establishment, Chinese involvement in Afghanistan represents competitive economic influence, and Pakistan’s a deeply despised and intolerable political involvement. But for the American political establishment, the anxiety stems from a deeper malaise of growing imperial geopolitical impotence and irrelevance. What Washington fears most, and hence will try to undermine as best it can, is a Syria redux, where ultimately the Russians, Iranians and the Turks simply sorted out the modalities of a stable, post-war Syria amongst themselves. There was no invitation to or input from the U.S. Having this mirror reflecting the face of an increasingly ignored and weakened empire, repeatedly confronting Uncle Sam at every corner, is what will continue to generate these panic-stricken imperial tweets for the foreseeable future.”