When Jimmy Carter, American President in 1981, convened with his closest advisers in the White House on 11th of April to discuss solutions to the Iranian hostage crisis during the American election campaign, two broad overarching themes dominated the meeting: hawks and doves. Then National Security Advisor-Zbigniew Brezinski, Vice President-Walter Mondale, Joint Chief of Staff, Chief of Staff and Defence Secretary were the hawks in the group of advisers whose main policy proposal and focus was to ensure that aggressive and harsh action was taken against Iran for detaining Americans. After initial negotiation failure, some advocated for punitive strikes, others wanted a major military mission to free the hostages. In the midst of hawks, there was Cyrus Vance, Secretary of State who wasn’t present on the 11th April meeting. The official explanation of his absence is much needed vacation but many historians argue that he was deliberately sent away because he was the ‘dove’, for he propagated for further negotiations, trade sanctions and non-military measures. Group-think, the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility, dominated here. All the like-minded individuals reached a decision with an air of finality without paying heed to the secretary of state who disagreed. Famous political theorist, Graham Allison answered this by saying ‘you stand where you sit’. Both Vice-President Walter Mondale and Chief of Staff owed their positions solely to President Carte. Therefore, they couldn’t make the man look weak during an election and vouched for aggression. Joint Chief of Staff, in command of the strongest military on the face of the planet wanted aggressive action to protect American honour and re-emphasise American military supremacy. But Cyrus Vance, then Secretary of State (in-charge of foreign relations), was the ‘dove’ because he feared a backlash in Middle-East and setbacks to American relations with other nations if any disproportionate force was used. The two most influential men in the foreign policy administration aren’t particularly concerned about the broader aims of the departments, and the ways these departments serve the interest of United States of America — rather they hold Trump’s success and interest at their heart President Trump’s recent accusations against Pakistan of ‘harbouring’ terrorists and serving as a safe haven for them come as part of the new militarised Afghanistan foreign policy.The policy is centred on using further aggression in American battle tactics, harsher rhetoric and stronger narrative against terrorism which explains why Pakistan was asked to ‘do more’. Just like President Carter succumbed to the hawks in his administration and had to carry out an armed rescue mission to keep his support base intact during the election campaign, Trump too has been toughening his stance and used harsh rhetoric againstPakistan to appeal to his voter base. A careful breakdown of the major components in American foreign policy administration is required to explain the outcry.Two personnel in particular have emerged as most prominent in Trump’s foreign policy administration — Rex Tillerson and Jared Kushner. Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, has no prior experience of holding a high ranking government office and owes his position entirely to Trump due to his lack of experience in this field. Tillerson has marginalised the State Department’s role in foreign policy making by sticking close to and showing absolute loyalty to the person who picked him, not the department he is in charge of. In other words, he is neither a career diplomat nor a seasoned government official. He knows nothing but to improve Trump’s standing across the board. The same applies to Jared Kushner, the President’s son in law, who is a trusted comrade despite zero knowledge of the intricacies of the world of diplomacy. The two most influential men in the foreign policy administration aren’t particularly concerned about the broader aims of the departments, and the ways these departments serve the interest of United States of America. Instead, they holdTrump’s success and interest at their heart. It is for this reason that a further aggressive policy has been adopted on the war on terror because the administration is dominated by hawks who owe everything to Trump’s presidency rather than their careers, and Trump coming across as antagonistic entails higher popularity and diversion from domestic woes.The hawks are hawks because instead of making acarefully planned, methodically constructed foreign policy accounting for all past failures, the aim is to make Trump appear tough, and the best way to do that is to command and deter other countries perceived as threatening by the American populace i.e. unfairly claim Pakistan to be a hub of terrorists. Studying American history reveals that foreign policy toughness, initiating war and major foreign policy successes improve a President’s popularity and rating. This is all the more significant for him considering he faces an investigation. Trump faces not only the lowest approval and popularity ratings by a US President in recent history, but is also confronted by serious investigations on his possible deep connections to Russia. It is, hence, in the interest of Donald Trump to chart a course of foreign affairs that makes him look different to his predecessor and look ready to use power and force to gain some acceptance domestically. There is no truth to his allegations against Pakistan. It is important to be critical of Pakistan’s flair for fundamentalism and extremism as seen by the creation of Mili Muslim League party by a banned militant outfit, but the claim that there is institutional, top tier and government support for terrorist organisations is diabolical and preposterous. What it is, however, is a domination of American foreign policy by hawks and an American President wanting to appear belligerent to rally everyone behind the American flag and divert attention from domestic troubles. The writer is a student of International Relations at London School of Economics, President of the London School of Economics Pakistan Development Society and Vice President of LSE South Asia Society. Co-Founder-Future of Pakistan Conference. Twitter: @OmerAzhar96 Published in Daily Times, September 1st 2017.