In the movie The Truman Show, the character Truman Burbank played impeccably by Jim Carrey is a story of a fake life that he leads. Everything around him is orchestrated so as to make his life a TV show for public consumption. Pakistan’s relations with the United States are not much different. Everything said about Pakistan is for the public consumption in the United States so as to enable the US government to enforce its ever flawed policies in the region. Also, as in the movie, every action is repeated at certain intervals in a pattern. Every few decades or a certain number of years, repeated patterns of US Pakistan relations are witnessed. During the Afghan war, Pakistan was an American darling. America promoted radical Islam not just in Afghanistan but in much of the Middle East, Indonesia, and wherever communism seemed to be taking a stronghold. The Jihadi forces were the shock troops of America, ready to be unleashed on the communist enemy. In Afghanistan, the Jihadi curriculum was published by the University of Nebraska in collusion with the CIA. Textbooks inciting calls to Jihad and the killing of infidels were distributed as far as the region, which formed the southern underbelly of the Soviet Union. The Cold War ended and immediately came the Pressler Amendment, which in 1990 banned most of the economic and military aid to Pakistan. Let us not forget that the US congress had passed the amendment in 1985 but the disingenuous language of the amendment paved the way for the aid to be continued after President Reagan made judgmental certification that Pakistan did not ‘yet’ possess a nuclear weapon because Pakistan’s help was still needed against Soviets at the time. After 9/11 Pakistan enjoyed being an ally again when Jihad became an enemy. Now, the United States sees China and Russia as ‘growing threats’ instead of terrorism. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said, ‘We will continue to prosecute the campaign against terrorists that we are engaged in today, but great power competition — not terrorism — is now the primary focus of US national security.’ So, the pendulum swings back and the US government now wants the fear culture at home, which is really an American thing, to be focused on China and Russia instead of terrorism. Whoever is an American enemy at a certain point in time has to be adopted as an enemy by other states, especially American allied states, otherwise they’d be labeled as communists, terrorists, and God knows what else. Nations that were baptised by America after they swore to be bloodthirsty enemies of terrorism would now have to be baptised again to swear revenge against China and Russia America always has an enemy. Well, rather America always has to have an enemy. The pendulum moved from the Military Industrial Complex to the Terrorism Industrial Complex and now it is swinging back. America is free to choose its enemy. The rest of the world is not. Whoever is an American enemy at a certain point in time has to be adopted as an enemy by other states, especially American allied states otherwise they’d be labeled as communists, terrorists, and God knows what else? Nations that were baptised by America after they swore to be bloodthirsty enemies of terrorism would now have to be baptised again to swear revenge against China and Russia. They will have to choose to either be with America or against America. This shift doesn’t represent some sage realisation on part of the government officials in the United States. This also doesn’t hint at China and Russia becoming threats overnight. Just like in the movie Spy Game, an inquisitive secretary asks Robert Redford what the entire mess at his CIA office was about, to which he replies, ‘money’. Most likely, this realisation has to do with profit. The Terrorism Industrial Complex was probably not as profitable as the Military Industrial Complex was. The nukes up gradation probably has a better margin of profit than spying on citizens in the guise of looking for bad guys. It goes without saying that the American nukes upgradation has to be justified against threats like China and Russia since nukes aren’t needed for Taliban or ISIS. Once again, Pakistan’s utility can either nosedive or it can skyrocket. Pakistan can either be degraded, insulted, scapegoated or it can be praised as an ally, which shares America’s vision for the future. Well, not sure what that vision would be that Pakistan would share without knowing or understanding, but rest assured Pakistan would be expected to share the blame once things go south. It all depends on what flawed policy the Americans will come up with. In case you’re wondering, the Americans wouldn’t share with Pakistan the bounty their corporations (US persons) would steal in their great and sophisticated highway robbery of citizens’ taxpayer dollars. The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter @Imran_Jan Published in Daily Times, April 2nd 2018.