Though expanding the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan last year, President Trump has shown little interest in the details — until New Year’s Day when he threatened Pakistan in a surprising tweet storm, reports Dennis J Bernstein.
By Dennis J Bernstein
In recent days, Pakistan has found itself in the crosshairs of President Donald Trump’s Tweet-threats to the surprise of many since Pakistan has not been a country that has drawn much of his attention in his first year in office.
Trump’s first tweet of 2018 was about the U.S. relationship with Pakistan. “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,” Trump tweeted on Jan. 1. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
Then, on Jan 4, the State Department announced that the U.S. was freezing a good portion of the military aid the U.S. offers to Pakistan. The cut/freeze could be as much as $1.3 billion.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif was furious. He said, after the suspension was announced, that the U.S. had turned Islamabad into a “whipping boy” for 17 years of failure in the U.S.-led war against Afghanistan. Khawaja told the Wall Street Journal that “This is not how allies behave.”
I spoke about the new Trump policy and its many implications with Junaid Ahmad. an assistant professor at the University of Lahore in Pakistan and Secretary-General of the International Movement for a Just World. I spoke to Professor Ahmad on Jan. 3.
Dennis Bernstein: Could you begin by describing what the International Movement for a Just World is?
Junaid Ahmad: We are an NGO [non-governmental organization] based in Malaysia which has networked over several decades now with a lot of the global justice campaigns, the anti-war movement, and the anti-corporate globalization movement. Particularly in East Asia we have been one of the organizations at the forefront of these groups and are very well connected with other groups in North America, Latin America, Europe and Africa.
Dennis Bernstein: Let’s talk a little bit about the…