The new ‘US Afghanistan and South Asia Strategy’, drafted by the Trump administration this year, has stirred a debate. This policy is in line with the previous administrations, it refuses to accept the US failures in Afghanistan, it makes us oblivious to Pakistan’s strategic choices in the region, and propels India rather assertively, as a counter-weight to China. Earlier, Trump was against the deployment of US troops in Afghanistan but now he has stepped up military engagement again. Referring to China as a threat to the world order and picking India to hedge against Beijing is not news either. These developments offer an interesting insight to challenge the prevailing perception that decision-making in Washington, under the Trump administration, has transformed frantically. Trump’s recent Afghan policy has proved that his tweets and bombasts are not a matter of preference in Washington and Capitol Hill. Now that ‘Asia’s Pivot’ is very much alive, it’s about time Pakistan crafts a regional policy while continuing to engage with the US. Pakistan-US relations are returning to normal, yet the strategic trust deficit has grown wider. Washington is convinced that Pakistan alone cannot help it in South Asia. Islamabad is convinced that the US has put its strategic choices in the regional dynamics of Afghanistan to oblivion for good. The US is decreasing its own economic and political clout by relying on India to assist it economically. The policy of playing doubles hardly gets the desired result. Moreover, the new US policy is self-defeating for three reasons. Firstly, it gives no consideration to political accommodation of the Taliban and reducing their support by placating Afghan nationals. Secondly, just like previous administrations, it puts the regional dynamics of Afghanistan to oblivion and prioritises Pakistan’s strategic choices. Thirdly, promoting India to play a bigger role in Afghanistan might be an effective tool of hedging China but it cannot avert the possibilities of a fallout in the region. Sailing under the flag of populist-nationalism, US President Donald Trump seems to initiate a post-American world order much faster than expected. His recent Afghan policy is just one reflection of it. Full of bombasts and clichés, Trump’s policy offered nothing insightful for the Afghan problem which has vexed the US for sixteen years. By blaming Pakistan for its failures and asking India to share the burden of economic assistance in return of a billion dollars trade with the US, Trump is only making it clear that the US is incapable of resolving this problem and has dwindled commitment for the nation building in Afghanistan. With this development, he is embracing a Post-American world much faster than expected. Earlier, Trump was against deploying of US troops in Afghanistan but now he has stepped up military engagement again The dilemma of Pakistan’s foreign policy has been its Indo-centric security prism which shapes its relations with other countries. While alleviating its strategic concerns vis-à-vis India, it has always preferred to pick a major power and wear it like armour. The real problem emerges when the major power uses its tilt on India as a bargain chip. Recently, the US Secretary, Rex Tillerson called China a threat to the world order and declared India as a regional leader. It is no secret that the US has been planning to hedge China by using India in South Asia. Now the theatre of a US proxy is in Afghanistan, all set for realpolitik once again. Afghanistan’s peaceful future depends on crafting a regional strategy not in playing favourites. Now, there are three options for Pakistan. First is to bow down to US pressure to ‘do more’, which is both unjust and self-defeating. Second is to find regional allies and stop looking towards Washington, which will have negative implications for Pakistan because the US influence in the world might be declining, but it is still a leading player in the international arena. Third is to employ its effective instruments to craft a balanced and a poised foreign policy in which America comes first among equals. This option is more plausible and productive. It will reduce Pakistan’s overdependence on one major power and help diversify the base of its foreign relations. More importantly, it will certainly buy Pakistan more time to shed its liabilities of the US proxy war in Afghanistan, rightly pointed out by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in his recent visit to Washington. The writer is Lecturer in International Relations Department, NUML Islamabad and Coordinator of the department. He holds degree of MS in International Cooperation from Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. He is a recipient of POSCO Asia Fellowship. He holds his degree of MSc International Relations from Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad. He’s also an MA in English from NUML Islamabad Published in Daily Times, November 5th 2017.