By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi
1. Donald Trump as I said in one of the earlier articles, is a deal maker. He will do what he thinks is in the best interests of America. He generally reads things in black and white binaries
2. Hence my reading of Trump's perspective about Pakistan is that in his assessment Pakistan's support, especially by our military, is far more valuable for US interests in Afghanistan than India. Therefore Pakistan is to be "supported" whatever form this support means, military aid, economic aid, close cooperation with the military and stop it from completely going into the "Chinese camp"
3. Consequently we may find an easing up of a US hardline policies towards us. The public evidence of this "easing up" are the recent statements favorable to Pakistan by Gen. Mattis, the Secretary of Defence, Gen. Nicholson, the US task force Commander in Afghanistan, and perhaps the most telling, recently by Gen. Joseph Votel, Commander, Central Command, to the Senate Armed Services Committe. And also the release of 350 $ million from the outstanding CSF.
4. But for me, the most visible evidence was the near panic by the Indian lobby manifested in the recent report authored by so called South Asian "experts" amongst others, Hussain Haqqani of the Hudson Institute, a pro Israeli pro Indian conservative Washington based think tank and The Heritage Foundation, another neoconservative forum. The report was Co Chaired by Hussain Haqqani and Lisa Curtis, a former CIA official who had served in Islamabad and reportedly, did not have friendly relations with the Pakistan Army, especially ISI. She's publicly known for her anti Pakistan bias.
Also in the mudslinging was Christine Fair, whose virulent hatred for the Pakistan Army in most part, allegedly stems from reports of a failed relationship she had with a Pak Army Officer. And so we are now facing the "wrath of a woman scorned"
The fact that this report was put together in a hurry, was an attempt to scuttle and pre empt the effects of the emerging pro Pakistan narrative developing in the Pentagon and Department of Defence, which we now see manifested, as earlier stated. A clear indication of the Trump administration's view about Pakistan.
5. The CPEC, indicative of the very close China, Pakistan relationship with Iran joining it fully, is also something the State department, DOD and Pentagon are conscious of. Especially Iran's ability to stave of its own destruction, and with Russian help support Assad and defeat Daesh has raised questions about USA'S support for other players, especially Saudi Arabia, it's support of terror groups and it's fiasco in Yemen.
This has initiated a new wave of analysis where Iran's geo political strength is being recognized. And It's likely integration into the CPEC with support from China and Russia are now prime factors which determine future US position on Pakistan. Trump's relationship with Russia may also be a factor.
In this entire scenario the country which has the worst cards is India. And that, in my opinion is a bad thing for Pakistan, because India, now isolated, will try and create mayhem in Pakistan, add fuel to the "terrorist haven" charge, perhaps even carry out some violent false flag ops in Held Kashmir or on Indian soil, to put us back in the dock and create problems with the USA
The Pro Indian lobby in the USA lead by Hussain Haqqani as their poster boy, will try and whip up as much anti Pakistan sentiments as they can, within the corridors of power. So watch out for more anti Pakistan invective coming from them.
Whatever one's view of Trump is, the tea leaves for now have a distinct green flavour!