Trump Needs Crash Course in Pakistan, India Politics
By Ferya Ilyas
As Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump calls Pakistan “the most dangerous country” and suggests partnering with India as a counter-force, political analysts in Pakistan say the American businessman-turned-politician has poor understanding of foreign policy and South Asian dynamics.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United Nations Masood Khan said Trump was in need of a crash course in Pakistan-India politics and diplomatic skills.
Khan, who is also the Director General of Islamabad’s Institute of Strategic Studies, said Trump should develop a better understanding of nuclear issues and the concept of deterrence by the time he gets nominated as a candidate by the Republican Party.
The Republican front-runner in a recent interview said he would consider using India’s help to deal with Pakistan if it becomes ‘unstable’ in the future. “Pakistan could go rogue and I think you have to get India involved; India’s the check to Pakistan. They have their own nukes; they have a very powerful army. They seem to be the real checkmate,” Trump said.
On Trump’s insistence to stay mum about his foreign policy because of unpredictability, Khan said unpredictability was not recognized as good norm in diplomacy. “Dependability and consistency are recognized as good norm in diplomacy,” he emphasized.
“Nobody can teach Trump how to run his business or foreign policy. If elected; he is his own master,” said Khan. “But we hope under the next administration, Pakistan and the United States would continue to develop their relations on a mature basis by strengthening institutional linkages and pursuing their multi-pronged strategic dialogue.”
The former ambassador to China suggested Trump to have an orientation session with former secretary of state Hilary Clinton, who is also running for presidency, on diplomacy and nuclear issues.
Khan also criticized the show host for asking troubling foreign policy questions. “Trump seems unschooled in these matters and therefore Hugh Hewitt’s question is unfair; the question itself is worrisome,” he added.
During the radio broadcast, the host had asked Trump if he would be prepared to send American troops to secure Pakistan’s nukes if it became unstable.
“Hewitt could not have asked a dumber teaser,” he said.
Meanwhile, calling foreign policy the weakest area of Trump’s political discourse, political and defense analyst Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi said his views on Pakistan, its nuclear program and terrorism represent a poor understanding of the situation.
“Such views will not be subscribed by the Department of State, Pentagon or the CIA,” he said.
Rizvi explained that to American business and the commercial elite, India is an attractive economic and trade proposition, and hence the inclination towards it. “Trump falls into this category,” he said.
The analyst seems hopeful that Trump would not be able to pursue such ideas if granted the party’s nomination; however, stressed the need of improving Pakistan’s image in the international arena.
“It is important for the government of Pakistan to recognize Pakistan’s image abroad is negative and the country is often described as the source of terrorism in the region. The policymakers should pay attention to improving the image abroad,” the analyst said.
“Pakistan needs to control urban-based extremism and terrorism, including the groups that focus on Kashmir and India,” Rizvi added. – The Express Tribune