President Trump has stopped the US security assistance package worth $2 billion to Pakistan due to their refusal to fight terrorism. This comes after years of US frustration with the Pakistan governments inability or perhaps desire not to impede terrorist cells living and growing in their country. The downside of holding back financial aid is that Pakistan will now lean towards China for help. However, the Chinese are very shrewd, while they will consider bolstering their global control through financial aid, they too understand the issues of Islamic terrorism, and will not be as patient or as favorable as the US. This means that Pakistan has to consider living with the “devil” it knows or taking on a new one that could be much worse in the long run.
President Trump stated on Monday that Pakistan has only given the US “nothing but lies and deceit,” and that the US has “foolishly” continued to support terrorism by supporting Pakistan, and has given them over $33 billion since 9/11. The US already stopped aid from reaching Pakistan back in August when a $255 military bundle was stopped from being delivered, and with the latest crackdown, Pakistan will have to either prove its intentions with action or agree with Trump.
Officials in the State Department have stated that they hope that the suspension will be lifted since there is debate over the way Pakistan fights terrorism that led Trump to this latest decision. The US wants to see a higher success rate, while Pakistan is upset that the US does not acknowledge their counter-terrorism activities. Perhaps there is a case of “impression” rather than action, what Trump considers to be ineffective can be either construed as inept and inefficient that requires change or actual collaboration with terrorism, which is what worries Trump and led to his decision.
The Pakistani Parliament will address the issue of deteriorating relations with the US in parliament next week. The discussions come at a time when China promises to invest $60 billion in Pakistan as part of its “belt and road” infrastructure plan that will unite China with other nations creating a global commercial infrastructure to replace US dominance with China. One Pakistani official stated anonymously that when “we” have to choose between two big players we will always go with the bigger and stronger player and in this case, it is China. Another country that has been strengthening its ties with Islamabad is Russia, where Putin has sided with the Taliban in its fight against ISIS.
Bottom line, Trump might save the US billions in misspent aid to other countries, but it could lose relations with these countries that can set back private business which will cost the US economy even more in the long term. Having stated this, as the worlds grow borderless with internet commerce and transfers of technology, saving the US billions could help strengthen the country while reducing “false” aid, which is aid given to enemies of the US.
The complexities of global economics, politics, and counter-terrorism are in a constant flux. Today’s enemy is tomorrows friend and vice versa. The only constant we have in this equation is China’s bid for world economic dominance, which combined with Russia, could become a reality within the next 10 years.