Redefining Pak-US relations

Washington has no ethical or moral standing to cut Coalition Support Funds paid to Pakistan by $800 million

Pakistan is still bitter about the additional cancellation of $300 million dollars in US aid. The move has left Pakistan wounded, just eight months after the US cut aid by $500 million. Furthermore, Islamabad didn’t even consider this money aid, but compensation for partaking in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). Pakistan has made numerous sacrifices to neutralise the monsters the US created to fight the Soviets during the Cold War.

Pakistan has suffered greatly for supporting US policies in the 1980’s and during the GWOT. Tens of thousands of Pakistani lives have been lost in the aftermath of 9/11. Meanwhile, the US has benefited from its war economy the way only it can. On the other hand, Pakistan has had to pay for every mistake Washington made in Afghanistan, repeatedly being pushed to ‘do more’.

Hence, Washington has no ethical or moral standing to cut Coalition Support Funds (CSF) paid to Pakistan by $800 million. It does not matter what the US wants or feels entitled to, Pakistan has to safeguard and promote its own interests — which it has already compromised on for too long at the behest of the US.

Perhaps this is why it is widely believed that a country doesn’t need enemies if it is friends with the US. It doesn’t matter if you are an ally or enemy, all just looks like dollar signs to those running its multi-trillion dollar war economy. For the past four decades, the US has created monsters in this region to boost its own economy. The next phase will be fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS), which has now infiltrated deep into Afghanistan. Credit goes to the Pakistan Army for doing their best to stop them from penetrating the Pak-Afghan border.

The US and its NATO allies need to check their attitude and practices. Taking up the “America First” may sound like a good idea to Americans at home, but at what cost — the peace of the world? At the end of the day, the US needs real allies, not just in Central and South Asia, but all over the world if it wants to maintain its superpower status. The US has conducted itself in an appalling manner in both the Far-East and in the Middle-East, creating hatred against common, blameless American citizens. It’s the same situation in Pakistan.

At the end of the day, the US needs real allies, not just in Central Asia and South Asia, but all over the world if it wants to maintain its superpower status

Pakistan’s newly elected government has already become embroiled in a controversy over a phonecall between Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Conflicting reports emerged from both sides about the contents of the call — indicating a complete communication deficit. This has given credence to the impression that the cuts in CSP aid were meant to pressurise Islamabad before the Pak-US negotiations set for yesterday.

Defence Secretary James Mattis had confirmed that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Joseph Dunford will meet PM Imran Khan and other Pakistani leaders and discuss relations between the two countries. Having these two gentlemen to negotiate the region’s fate with Pakistan means to use Pakistan’s land once again to further their nefarious regional economic and political designs.

Waging war against international trade is a new phenomenon but the US is all out to dismantle trade regimes all over the world. The US no doubt has already many success stories of dismantling the political regimes. President Donald Trump and his team have many lame excuses to destroy trade regimes that could bring prosperity and peace for the world’s common people. By spreading deceptive notions and alluring the fellow Americans by the America First slogan, would President Trump actually be able to dent the economic flow of international trade? All trading countries shall get together to develop shared a vision and strategy to keep the trade volume of goods flowing for the betterment of the people around the globe instead of encouraging a war economy. Pakistan should play its due role in this process.

PM Imran is well known for his criticism of US military policy in Afghanistan. However, after winning the elections he changed his tune, claiming that he seeks better relations with the US after a series of aid cuts and the suspension of US military training. Having spent about eight hours in the Military GHQ for meetings and briefings, the entire nation hopes that he will play a match-winning innings against Washington. We indeed need to avoid any new venture that would cause more violence in the region.

The writer is an Islamabad-based policy advocacy, strategic communication and outreach expert. He can be reached at devcom.pakistan@gmail.com. He Tweets @EmmayeSyed

Published in Daily Times, September 5th 2018.