Page 6 - Pakistan Link - September 1, 2017
P. 6

P6  –  PAKISTAN LINK  –  SEPTEMBER 1,  2017                                                                                           OPINION
                n By Mushahid Hussain                 Trump’s Afghanistan Policy:
                      Islamabad                                                                                          nomic burden” adding, he is looking for “real
                                                                                                                         reforms, real progress, and real results,” plus
             resident Donald Trump’s much tout-          The View from Islamabad                                         warning Kabul that America’s “patience is not
             ed Afghan strategy -- which is a U-                                                                         unlimited.”
        Pturn on his original views -- is essen-                                                                            There is  also a new emphasis on  the
        tially a facelift of a tried, tested and failed                                                                  economic dimension as part of the  overall
                    formula.                                                                                             diplomatic and military strategy towards Af-
                       It is a surge, of sorts,                                                                          ghanistan. This was made clear when Trump
                    backed by a rap on the knuck-                                                                        talked about India. He said that it “makes bil-
                    les for Pakistan (which re-                                                                          lions of dollars in trade with the United States
                    mains an abiding and favorite                                                                        and we want them to help us more with Af-
                    scapegoat  for  US  failures  in                                                                     ghanistan especially in the area of economic
                      Afghanistan).  It  is a  sop                                                                       assistance and development.”
                    to India, more symbolic than                                                                            H a v i n g taken this long to formulate
        substantive. And it gives carte blanche to the                                                                   what is essentially new wine in an old bottle,
        military to pursue what is now an unwin-                                                                         the politician in President Trump probably
        nable war without end against a faceless and                                                                     saw an opportunity to score some points with
        stateless enemy.                                                                                                 his domestic audience while announcing a
            Pakistanis would critique the Afghan                                                                         foreign policy -- something he has struggled
        strategy of President Trump on three counts.                                                                     to do in the past.
            First, 16 years and $1 trillion later, what                                                                     Apart from sharing the American Estab-
        can 4,000 more American troops do which                                                                          lishment worldview on Afghanistan, he has
        over 100,000 American troops could not                                                                           also outsourced the war to his generals and
        achieve?                                                                                                         commanders in the field where he has made
            Second, injecting India into Afghanistan                                                                     it clear that there will be no “micro-manage-
        -- whom Pakistan accuses of using Afghan   As a pivotal  regional  player, Pakistan   mantra just before exiting Vietnam.  ment from Washington DC” and that he has
        territory to foment violence in Pakistan’s bor-  today has greater room for maneuver in for-  Moreover, Trump, for the first time, has   already “lifted restrictions placed by the pre-
        der regions -- is a sure recipe for a Pakistan-  eign policy. Pakistan has a close rapport with   put the onus on the Afghan government,   vious administration on action to be taken in
        India proxy war on Afghanistan soil.  China and Russia as well as the Central Asian   stating “our commitment is not unlimited   the battlefield”.
            Third, with no military solution in sight   republics, serving as the hub of a growing re-                      With little over 40% of Afghanistan al-
        for Afghanistan, regional diplomacy, involv-  gional economic connectivity. And US clout   Very soon, the realization will   ready under the influence or control of the
        ing Pakistan, Iran, China and Russia, is more   and leverage is much diminished today.                           Taliban, according to the most recent quar-
        in need than anything listed above.      With Modi’s India divided and polar-  dawn on President Trump that the   terly  report  to  the  United  States  Congress
            Although President Trump has said that   ized -- and bogged down in problems with   road to peace in Kabul lies through   from  the  Special  Inspector  General  for  Af-
        he recognizes the “contributions and sacri-  neighbors like China, Nepal and Myanmar   Islamabad, and Islamabad will be   ghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), Trump’s
        fices” of the Pakistani people who have “suf-  -- Pakistan has strategic space in which it can   ready for the call that will come from   war rhetoric is a throwback to the last days
        fered greatly from terrorism and extremism,”   operate.                                                          of the Vietnam War, when President Nixon
        he has also accused Pakistan of “continuing   Despite all the above, Pakistan can see a   Washington seeking a helping hand   resorted to the Christmas Bombing of Hanoi
        to harbor criminals and terrorists.”  small glimmer of hope. President Trump has   to extricate the United States from   in December 1972 with the intention to bring
            Such  talk  is  counter-productive,  given   clearly spelled out his definition of victory in   the Afghan quagmire  the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong to
        the Pakistani people’s sacrifices (over 60,000   Afghanistan, which he reduces to “prevent-                      the conference table.
        soldiers and civilians dead) and the fact that   ing the Taliban from taking over Afghani-                          Very soon, the realization will dawn on
        Pakistan today is probably the only Muslim   stan.” So when President Trump talks of an   and our support is not a blank check,” and   President Trump that the road to peace in
        country to have waged a successful anti-ter-  “honorable and enduring outcome,” it is sim-  the “government of Afghanistan must carry   Kabul lies through Islamabad, and
        ror fight.                            ilar to President Nixon’s “peace with honor”   their share of the military, political, and eco-  AFGHANISTAN, P28

   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11