Trump misspeaks. Again


Donald Trump has done it again. Not content with arguing, in an interview with Fox News, that Islamabad has not done “a damn thing” to contribute to the GWOT — while suggesting that the top leadership had actively sheltered Bin Laden — the US President then took to Twitter to repeat the charge. Thereby prompting Prime Minister Imran Khan to tweet several rebuttals. Since then, the Foreign Office has summoned the top American diplomat. While the Pentagon has done its best to try and diffuse the situation by emphasising that Pakistan remains a critical regional partner.
This latest outburst against this country could not have come at a worse time for the Afghan peace process. Especially given that the Americans continue to outsource responsibility to Pakistan to drag the Taliban to the multilateral negotiating table. When, in fact, it is Kabul that needs encouragement on this front. All of which suggests that Mr Trump has lost sight of the bigger picture here. Indeed, his predecessor went on record as saying that there was no evidence suggesting that the Pakistani state knew the Al Qaeda chief was hiding in plain sight. But if the un-quiet American is keen to revisit history then someone somewhere should impress upon him the fact that the Af-Pak region is today still suffering the blowback from the US proxy war against the Soviets some 40 years ago. Similarly, successive White Houses in the post-9/11 environment have sought to scapegoat this country time and again.
Naturally, the aforementioned is no substitute for policy. Moreover, at a time when the US special envoy for Afghan peace is doing his level best to put Washington, rightly or wrongly, in the driving seat in this regard — the man at the top appears to be shooting himself in the foot. This is not to suggest the Khan government will pull the plug on talking peace with Kabul. After all, it has to live in this neighbourhood. But it is to point out the sheer irresponsibility of this particular American presidency.