For Pakistan, 2018 began with a tweet by President Trump wherein he lambasted his own country for having given Pakistan upwards of 33 billion USD in aid while getting nothing in return. The year was not to end uneventfully, as it now seems, 2018 is to end with a “parting gift” for Pakistan with another statement by President Trump blaming it for allegedly helping Osama bin Laden hide in clear sight.Pakistan receives (or has previously received) eleven types of assistance funds from the US. Most significant of these being the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), which is the money from the US. Defence Emergency Response Fund used to reimburse coalition partners for their logistical and military support during US military operations. Only one program called Non-proliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining, and Related, is where aid is provided to sustain Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations. Since 2002 till 2017, Pakistan had received only 182 million USD under the ambit of this aid package. Another assistance package is the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund/Counterinsurgency Capability Fund. Between FY-2002 to FY-2012, Pakistan received closer to 2 Billion USD (or 2,352 million USD to be precise) under this. In simpler words, the U.S. paid Pakistan to rid itself of insurgency – created as a result of the US invasion of Afghanistan – which Pakistan has done quite effectively. Excluding CSF, which is Not an aid package, the actual ‘aid’ given to Pakistan to counter terrorism and insurgency is just closer to 3 billion USD. Only including the other recipient sectors – anti-narcotics, global health programs, economic support, and disaster and refugee assistance etc. – yields the 33 Billion USD that President Trump cited as having given to Pakistan so it could fight terrorism on America’s behalf. Hence, a basic reality check for President Trump, Pakistan is not paid to “do a damn thing” for the US.Moreover, according to the Pakistan Economic Survey 2017-18, the direct and indirect costs sustained by Pakistan since 2001 to 2017, is close to 126.79 Billion USD – and the 33 billion by the US seems like peanuts compared to that. As per a study conducted by the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, Pakistan incurred the loss of around 65,000 individuals since 2001 to 2018. According to empirical data collected by analysts at the US based Centre for Strategic and International Studies for their Transnational Threats Project, the violence level in Pakistan recorded for the year 2017 was significantly lower than the previous year up to 2008. This is the result of the numerous counter-terrorism operations conducted in the country, and sacrifices made in blood and money to sustain peace. The same, however, could not be said of Afghanistan where peace seems like an elusive concept presently. Another reality check for President Trump, it is the US’ policies in Afghanistan which have failed to “do a damn thing” for the US and its interests in the country.Concerning the provision of safe havens, as per BBC reports from earlier this year, the Taliban are openly active in 70 percent of Afghanistan. Imagine the logistical and tactical hassle they may face if they have to move to and from the so-called “safe havens” provided by Pakistan to conduct operations all over AfghanistanPakistan cannot be the sole stakeholder in ensuring peace in Afghanistan, especially when it suffers internally because of the inefficiency of US forces in preventing cross-border terrorism. Yet, Pakistan has always kept itself open to facilitate the process which may lead to eventual peace for its western neighbour. Pakistan has always pushed for a negotiated political settlement with Taliban – an idea the US seems to be coming to terms with after having exhausted the use of military might to attain peace. Concerning the provision of safe havens, as per BBC reports from earlier this year, the Taliban are openly active in 70 percent of Afghanistan. Imagine the logistical and tactical hassle they may face if they have to move to and from the so-called “safe havens” provided by Pakistan to conduct operations all over Afghanistan. It is high time the US came out of its Cold War mentality when it helped Pakistan host these Taliban so they could be trained to fight the Soviets. Presently, various Taliban factions are as much a threat to Pakistan as they are to the US.Unfortunately for President Trump, he cannot get out of Afghanistan as he had hoped for initially. Now he needs to vent his frustration and use Pakistan as a scapegoat, which is preventing US forces to withdraw. During the past two administrations, there were a number of sectors in which US relied on its partnership with Pakistan. However, since President Donald Trump took over the Oval Office, the focus has primarily been shifted to the Afghanistan issue, with terrorism being an offshoot concern. Hence, Pakistan should expect the do more narrative in the context of counter-terrorism and Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan to be reiterated through the incumbent Administration’s tenure. Moreover, since the interests of both Pakistan and the US do not seem to align, bitterness will remain the primary flavour of this bilateral relation in the foreseeable future.Pakistan is dealing with an important ally who – unfortunately – is presently being run by an Administration which seems to have the equivalent of a Borderline Personality Disorder. Yet, Pakistan should not walk on eggshells around the US as that approach by previous rulers has not yielded any positive outcomes. PM Khan did well to highlight the US’ failure in Afghanistan and from now on that should be Pakistan’s official approach. However, as trendy as it may seem, it is unbecoming for the Head of a State to use Twitter to respond on matters of foreign policy – even though it temporarily helps appease the sentiments of the domestic audience. Moreover, Pakistani leaders should avoid reacting to President Trump’s on-the-spur whimsical comments, which may not entirely be the result of consultation with actual policy-makers in his Administration. President Trump is seemingly a man of strong and unwavering opinions and if he has formed a certain opinion of Pakistan, it is hardly likely that he will change it. Pakistan would do well to take any jibe by President Trump with a pinch of salt for the remainder of his time as President and continue to work towards the reset of relations – an idea endorsed by policymakers on both sides – without sacrificing its own national interests.The writer is a Research Fellow at the Centre for International Strategic Studies, IslamabadPublished in Daily Times, December 4th 2018.