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Fears of Isolation

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  12 Nov 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Dold Trump’s election as US President has not gone down too well with a lot of people largely because of his attitudes and a general feeling of his being prejudiced on several major issues. At the same time, there is every reason to hope that Indo-US relations will improve perceptibly perhaps at a cost of US-Pakistan ties. It is only tural that Pakistan should keep in mind Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and his business ties with India. In fact, Trump had once even proposed banning Muslims from entering the US! In any case, the US has lately been accusing Pakistan of sheltering Islamist militants—a charge that Pakistan vehemently denies. The US is not likely to let Islamabad forget that that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US troops in Pakistan close to a military establishment, despite Islamabad’s repeated assertions that he was not in Pakistan. US-Pakistan relations plumbed a new low in May this year when a US drone killed the leader of the Afghan Taliban movement within Pakistani territory. Besides, the US has not taken very kindly to the deterioration of Indo-Pakistani relationship this year, since most countries of the world are convinced that the belligerence and the souring of relationships can be traced to Pakistan. Islamabad will turally view every US move away from Pakistan as an indication of a move towards India. This is something Pakistan cannot afford considering the extent of its dependence on the United States for economic and military aid. In fact, what has not ceased to intrigue many political observers throughout the world was the choice of Pakistan by the United States as its foremost partner in the ‘global’ war against terrorism.

At the same time, it would be absurd to conclude that the US might be in a hurry to sever all ties with Pakistan. According to Hasan Askari Rizvi, a Lahore-based foreign policy alyst, “America will not abandon Pakistan, but definitely, Trump will be a tougher President than Hillary Clinton for Pakistan.” According to Rizvi, India will have better and smoother interaction with the United States compared to Pakistan. It is interesting to learn that Trump had recently offered to mediate between India and Pakistan in their dispute over Kashmir. One cannot help being amused by this offer considering that Trump knows so little about either India or Pakistan or, for that matter, about how the dispute over Kashmir arose in the first place.

At the same time, the world will watch even more closely what Trump decides to do about Afghanistan. Will he choose to maintain the number of US troops in Afghanistan or change the very scope of the US mission, 15 years after an American campaign toppled the hardline Taliban government. The US has spent about $115 billion in aid for Afghanistan since 2002, but the country remains caught in conflict. A third of the country is out of government control, and thousands of Afghan civilians, soldiers and policemen get killed every year. Afghan officials have expressed their concern that the conflict is being forgotten by the US, and have warned in private conversation that the West will pay a huge price if Washington chooses to ignore what is happening in Afghanistan. According to Umer Daudzai, former Afghan Minister of Interior, “The people of Afghanistan are tired of war. We want Trump to invest heavily in bringing peace to war-torn Afghanistan and stabilize our region. Many Afghans are thankful that US President Obama’s origil aim of pulling out of Afghanistan entirely has been put on hold in the face of increasing gains by Taliban militants. Most Afghans will watch very closely what changes Dold Trump makes to the US involvement in Afghanistan to ensure the return of peace to the country.

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