Donald Trump’s first tweet of 2018 has created a furore exacerbating the contradictions in the already fraught US-Pakistan relations. He tweeted, “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted right back, ‘We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance.’ These $33.4 billion include payments made for supporting the US mission in Afghanistan. The total economic losses that Pakistan sustained directly or indirectly since the US invasion of Kabul in October 2001 stand at $123.13 billion. Trump has pursued the policy of using US foreign assistance to bully countries to fall in line. In December Ambassador Nikki Haley threatened to cut off aid to countries that voted against the United States at the UN General Assembly. On January 2 Trump targeted the Palestinians: “It’s not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars for nothing, but also many other countries, and others. As an example, we pay the Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year and get no appreciation or respect.” Pakistan-US relations seem to be in for a rough ride. The already ignominious inter-relationship of an old imperial master and its tenuous client state seemingly are on a collision course. However the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington, DC, cautioned, “Don’t expect a full rupture in ties, as each side benefits from some semblance of a workable relationship, but there will be dark days ahead.” It is farcical for top US leaders to pretend of being oblivious of Pakistani state’s duplicitous counterterrorism policy. Successive administrations despite their vociferous criticisms continued to drag along this ‘partner in war against terrorism’. They reluctantly tolerated Pakistani establishment’s policy doctrine of ‘strategic depth’. In reality Trump has given Pakistan’s frail civilian government much-needed pretext for a pretentious show of strength getting a common stage with the Army’s top brass. It has also been opportune for Pakistan’s establishment to get exoneration of the accusations of the deep state’s involvement for nurturing terrorists. On the other hand Nawaz Sharif, while calling Trump Tweets “Sad” and ‘Non-Serious’ tried to use this tweet to retaliate against factions of the deep state hounding him. Washington recently gave a warning that ‘Pakistan may lose territory’. Pakistan’s Senate voiced concerns that the United States may conduct a unilateral raid in Pakistan similar to the one it carried out to capture and kill Osama bin Laden in 2011. But America’s newly adopted aggressive approach towards Pakistan is a slippery slope. It may end up jeopardising whatever remaining leverage Washington has over Pakistan’s elite. Peace and prosperity cannot be achieved within these borders of imperialist partitions and the aggressive lust for strategic and financial hegemony. Only when the masses arise in a victorious class struggle, can this systemic torment and imperialist stranglehold be abolished This tirade also strengthens the Islamicists and military generals in their policy of profitable belligerency. Paradoxically it will benefit the draconian rule of Modi’s Hindutva chauvinism. It’s a boon for the reactionary forces in the region that instigate and feed upon religious and nationalist hatreds to subdue and crush the toiling masses. Portrayed as Trump’s naivety, these diatribes are infact his wily manoeuvres to ignite antagonisms in an attempt to distract the anger of US workers and youth from their socioeconomic woes and simmering deprivation. These bellicose rants in the last analysis reflect the terminal decay of the US imperialism — the largest military and economic empire in history. For Trump’s Washington, China’s expanding economic and military might is a direct threat to US global hegemony. While Pakistan has gained a new status with the country’s geostrategic location that offers Beijing an access that may lead to the success of its global infrastructure scheme — the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Washington has openly opposed the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). A day after Donald Trump slammed Pakistan for harbouring terrorists; State Bank of Pakistan announced that it would be replacing the dollar with the yuan for bilateral trade and investment with China. On the same day Chinese Foreign Ministry came out in an outright support for Pakistan. Few have pondered that China’s coercive hegemony would lead to perhaps Pakistan’s even worse colonialisation. But these diplomatic rows and imperialist manoeuvres only add insult to injury for Pakistan’s ordinary people. Their miseries have worsened with the economic as well as the physical ramifications of these internecine wars. The US imperialists have used the Pakistani state and the ruling elites for its geo strategic and economic interests since 1947. But they also never let go India that had a larger market potential. Even from the point of view of Pakistan’s ruling state the Americans dithered when the Pakistani state needed them the most, particularly during the 1965 war with India. Yet being a crooked and pauperised ruling class, the Pakistan’s elite has always been servile to their American bosses. To crush the left wing forces that were genuinely anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist, the CIA launched modern Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan during the 1950’s. In 1978 they launched the ‘dollar jihad’ to overthrow the left wing government of Noor Mohammad Tarakai in Afghanistan. This started the mayhem of fundamentalist terror that has devastated the peoples of the region for generations. Now the chickens have come home to roost. These Frankenstein monsters are now at loggerheads with their imperialists and Pakistani masters. Yet there are numerous terrorists groups that are buoyed by the imperialists and many others are assets for Pakistan’s deep state. With western imperialists losing the war other regional imperialist powers and Pakistan’s military strategists are trying to wrest the initiative in Afghanistan. This makes it an incessant conflict with so many adversaries’ entering the fray. For the oppressed classes and the poor this system that breeds these conflicts of extortion only perpetuates their plight. Peace and prosperity cannot be achieved within these borders of imperialist partitions and the aggressive lust for strategic and financial hegemony. Only when the masses arise in a victorious class struggle, can this systemic torment and imperialist stranglehold be abolished. The writer is the editor of Asian Marxist Review and International Secretary of Pakistan Trade Union Defence Campaign. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, January 8th 2018.