If the unfair pressure from the US UU On Pakistan it continues, it will only push it more to the fold of the Chinese
. The management of relations with the US UU It has always been the biggest challenge of Pakistan's foreign policy. The military rulers, whether Ayub, Zia or Musharraf, sought legitimacy by submitting to the agenda and the global and regional relations of the United States, and in general they remained satisfactory and even cordial. The most recent and flagrant example of this cooperation was Pakistan's strong support for Afghan Jihad during the Soviet occupation and later its participation in Afghanistan after the events of 11 September. But these convenient policies had long-term consequences whose negative effects are visible even now.
It is somewhat sad that, whether by coincidence or otherwise every time civil governments have been in power, be it the PPP or the PML-N, they were subject to US sanctions or remained under pressure. Pakistan's nuclear program was the raison d'être, although during the military regimes for expeditious reasons it was ignored by Washington.
Once again, we are going through a very challenging phase of our relationship with the USA. UU We are continually blamed for providing refuge to the Haqqani Network and the Taliban Shura. The refusal on the Pakistani side is not accepted for its real value and the commander of the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, said that Pakistan has not changed in its support for the Haqqani Network and the Taliban Shura, the same groups that they are fighting. The secretary of state and senior defense department officials have made similar scathing statements. This accusation clearly implies that Pakistan is not an ally but works against the interests of the United States.
Do not expect unilateral cooperation, Pakistan will tell the Secretary of Defense of the United States
The visit of Secretary General of Defense Mattis received justly a great weight, since it is one of the few members of the administration who enjoy the confidence of President Trump. The way the state department has been marginalized and the secretary of state apparently on the way out, the defense department has assumed great importance.
Pakistan's relations with the United States are going through a difficult and unpredictable phase. Undoubtedly, accusations that Pakistan is providing refuge to the Haqqani network and the Taliban leadership are nothing new, but since President Trump took office, he has taken a very firm stand on the question of sanctuaries. State Department warnings and General Nicholson's statement that preceded General Mattis' visit show that the United States does not believe in the truthfulness of the Pakistan version or deliberately accuses us of being the scapegoat for its failures. In fact, it is more than the last. In recent months, Pakistan has taken effective measures to ensure that the Haqqani Network and Taliban leaders do not use the territory of Pakistan. It is clear that our army has taken very concrete measures so that the Taliban or their ally, the Haqqani Network, does not operate from the Pakistani territory. But surely, he does not want to antagonize the Taliban leaders in a way that makes them his enemy, since Pakistan already faces the challenge of facing the Indian and Afghan hostility. In addition, Pakistan's claim is that the Taliban are a significant force in Afghanistan and it is likely that the mere fact of relying on military force to subjugate the insurgency will be successful. The solution lies in giving greater weight to political commitment.
The visit of Tillerson, Secretary of State, and the recent visit of Secretary of General Defense James Mattis suggests the pressure that the Trump administration is increasing in Pakistan. The indications are that the Pakistan Army will only comply to a certain extent with the demands of the US. UU As the Foreign Office spokesman said recently, Pakistan would try to find common ground. This point has been reiterated during the mid-level talks that also took place recently.
Retention of the Coalition Support Fund of US $ 700 million by the United States. UU Nor was it well received, since this is the amount that Pakistan has already spent on the provision of services. If unfortunately, the measures taken by Pakistan are unable to satisfy the Pentagon and the Trump administration, it could lead to EE. UU Intensify attacks with drones. You could also withdraw the non-NATO ally status and completely cut off the aid. The worst scenario would be if the expected winter offensive by the United States against the Taliban fails. In his frustration, he could unfairly blame Pakistan as a sponsor of terrorism and apply strict UN sanctions. Pakistan understands all this but can only go so far while protecting its national interests. If the unfair pressure of EE. UU On Pakistan it continues, it will only push more towards the group of the Chinese. Meanwhile, Pakistan is also trying to improve relations with Russia and Iran and concentrate more on Muslim countries. Their efforts have been largely successful. In addition, with the United States seriously facing North Korea, having extremely tense relations with Iran and a deep involvement in Syria, will it be prepared to open another front against Pakistan? However, President Trump and his team in the meantime will maintain the pressure, blowing hot and cold but keeping communication channels open. Despite the current attitude of the United States, he understands the value of Pakistan in the region and will only get there. Meanwhile, the Pakistani army is expected to maintain strict control over the Haqqani network, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba so that it does not provide EE. UU No excuse to slander him. Pakistan understands that there are mandatory obligations based on UN resolutions 1267 and 1822 that oblige it to take effective measures against these organizations. Meanwhile, civilian and military leadership are likely to intensify efforts to improve relations with Afghanistan by eliminating their doubts.
Despite the recent setbacks, Pakistan needs to make every effort to improve relations with Washington. It should intensify the channels of traditional diplomacy: mutual visits by political and military leadership. Pakistan has in the past neglected public diplomacy, which could also play an effective role in correcting our image. This would require greater interaction at the level of civil society. Pakistani intellectuals and diaspora should be more active in their interaction with American think tanks such as Brookings, Carnegie, Hudson Institute and American Enterprise. These institutions play an important role in influencing US policy in the White House, the State Department and the Department of Defense.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6 th 2017.
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