Today, the President hit Pakistan hard on Twitter and potentially in their bank accounts…
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
Ending aid to Pakistan is likely just a temporary threat to get them to cooperate with the U.S. military when they capture mutual enemies. It’s almost unimaginable that the President would risk having our military ejected from the nation, through which we’ve waged our war in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Then again, this is President Trump. One never knows what’s a threat and what will become a reality.
Pakistan’s government hits back at Trump over foreign aid threat: US has ‘given us nothing but mistrust’
“Pak as anti-terror ally has given free to US: land & air communication, military bases & intel cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs, but they have given us nothing but invective & mistrust,” the Pakistan Ministry of Defence said in statement posted to Twitter. “They overlook cross-border safe havens of terrorists who murder Pakistanis.”
I’m very torn on this issue. The President is correct that Pakistan has been a partial ally (I’m interpreting Trumpspeak here as, he actually said they’ve given us nothing but lies and deceit). They have publicly been friendly but behind the scenes there’s plenty of credible speculation that they’ve aided our enemies at every turn.
On the other hand, declarations on Twitter are not always the most effective way to fix a situation, particularly when it comes to international affairs. I’ll admit I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the effectiveness of some of his Tweets, but others have caused unnecessary stirs when private discussion would have been better. It’s easy to second-guess the President because he’s the first to ever voice such concerns publicly in this manner. Even before Twitter, Presidents had the ability to release statements or make addresses that would achieve the same goals, so it’s not a technology issue. This President moves differently.
If this ends up getting us booted from Pakistan, it will be deemed a huge mistake. Then again, the aid that we give to countries is significant enough that most countries will talk tough but relent in the end.
The President isn’t making friends by doing these things, but he’s definitely energizing his base. If that’s the sole purpose of Twitter outbursts that affect foreign affairs, it’s foolish. If it yields good results, then it all may be worth the headaches.