Home Global Village Will Trump’s praise for Pakistan improve ties?

Will Trump’s praise for Pakistan improve ties?

Pakistan
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M K Bhadrakumar |

The Pakistani elites have shown once again that they can beat their Indian counterparts hands down in sucking up to the Americans. The manner in which they wormed their way back into the bed with the Trump administration takes the breath away.

They apparently planted ‘actionable intelligence’ on the US agencies regarding the whereabouts of American citizen Caitlan Coleman and her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle along with their three children, got the Americans, in turn, to request their intelligence to act on that bit of ‘actionable’ intelligence – and thereafter they acted with brutal efficiency to get the hostages released and handed over to the Americans.

Modi should somehow learn to give up this cheeky habit of hugging any world statesman he comes across anywhere, anytime. If Modi thinks he is mentally bonding with them via this physical act, he is dead wrong

The US President Donald Trump is beside himself with joy to flaunt a rare foreign policy ‘victory’ for his administration. Trump may not exactly be a bright mind, but, probably, the man senses that the Pakistanis may have tricked him. At any rate, never mind, because in the wasteland that surrounds his presidency, there is something to claim as ‘victory’, finally, and that is all that matters for the moment.

Read more: Trump tweets thanks to Pakistan

Pakistan claims it has hit the Haqqani group to rescue the hostages. We have no choice but to accept the Pakistani version. The story casts the Pakistani military in a favorable light when the whole world is talking about its mentorship of the Haqqanis.

Don’t be surprised if the hostages have been under the control of the Pakistani intelligence all along. Stranger things have happened between the CIA and ISI. Remember the raid on Mullah Baradar (late Mullah Omar’s deputy) in a raid in Karachi in February 2010? Or, the killing of the Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone attack in August 2009, where, again, the ISI was rumored to have tricked the CIA?

The Pakistani tactic will be to cooperate with the US to the extent necessary to keep the engagement with the CIA and Pentagon on track, while they advance on a parallel track their covert support for their ‘strategic assets’

Or, the killing of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in yet another drone attack in May 2016 (while returning from Iran) on the basis of a likely Pakistani tip-off? What happens next? Has Pakistan had a change of heart, as Trump insists on believing? The plain truth is that the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same. Pakistan’s capacity to string the Americans is infinite.

Read more: Pakistani origin Mayor displays what’s best about his city, London

For the Americans, too, there is no choice but to chug along since they simply cannot maintain a military presence in Afghanistan without Pakistani acquiescence and ‘cooperation’. The release of the hostages has revived the cooperation between the Pakistani and US intelligence agencies. Pakistan will ensure that the working relationship will now gain traction.

The Pakistani tactic will be to cooperate with the US to the extent necessary to keep the engagement with the CIA and Pentagon on track, while they advance on a parallel track their covert support for their ‘strategic assets’. While the Taliban may make an occasional hit at a NATO target, the ISI will ensure that the code of understanding is observed so that American blood is not spilled in Afghanistan in a way that could create problems for Mr. Trump back home.

The ISI will ensure that the code of understanding is observed so that American blood is not spilled in Afghanistan in a way that could create problems for Mr. Trump back home

All this must become a morality play for the Chinese too, who have lately become more loyal than the king in defending Pakistan’s credentials in the war on terror. A recent commentary in the Global Times by a Chinese pundit berated India for accusing Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism. It made the preposterous claim that India faces terrorism due to the unresolved Kashmir problem.

Read more: Taliban raped wife, killed daughter said Joshua Boyle after safe return…

The pundit apparently had never heard about the Khalistanis and late KPS Gill. Having invested so heavily in the CPEC, China too is in a position of vulnerability similar to the US’. (The Russians are a shade better off by going slow in ‘thawing’ their frozen ties with Pakistan.)

Has Pakistan had a change of heart, as Trump insists on believing? The plain truth is that the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same. Pakistan’s capacity to string the Americans is infinite

For India, the sight of the US and Pakistan kissing and making up overnight against the backdrop of what seemed like an imminent showdown, should not come as surprise. In fact, South Block’s professionals must be feeling a sense of de javu. The real embarrassment ought to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s. Rahul Gandhi has a point in mocking him.

Read more: Twitterman threatened DPRK at UNGA, how will Rocketman respond?

Modi should somehow learn to give up this cheeky habit of hugging any world statesman he comes across anywhere, anytime. If Modi thinks he is mentally bonding with them via this physical act, he is dead wrong. Trump, for example, is a cold-blooded personality. We will never know what thoughts crossed through Trump’s mind when Modi hugged him so intensely. They cannot possibly be very complementary. Trump’s unceremonious U-turn on Pakistan testifies to it.

M. K. Bhadrakumar has served as a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service for over 29 years, with postings as India’s ambassador to Uzbekistan (1995-1998) and to Turkey (1998-2001). He writes extensively in Indian newspapers, Asia Times and the “Indian Punchline”. This piece was first published in Indian Punchline. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.


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