Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pakistan PM and Trump at UN; Lahore NA-120 Result

What are Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's objectives of his visit to New York? What did he say to the world at UN General Assembly? How was his interview with David Sanger at Council for Foreign Relations in New York? What were his key messages? What cards does Pakistan hold to agree on a mutually-beneficial transactional relationship with the Trump administration in terms of Afghan policy? What are Pakistan's options if Trump does not agree to Pakistan's proposals?

Why did President Donald Trump choose to make a threatening speech at UN General Assembly? What does he hope to accomplish by intimidating Iran and North Korea? Will the US allies go along with Trump's belligerent strategy vis-a-vis Iran and North Korea? How will killing the Iran nuclear deal impact America's chances of reaching a diplomatic solution with North Korea?

Was Kulsoom Nawaz's victory in NA-120 bypolls unexpected?  What do the results mean for the upcoming general elections in Punjab? Does PMLN's significantly reduced majority in NA-120 win send a warning to the ruling party that it faces tough competition from Imran Khan's PTI in future elections? Are the big losses suffered by the PPP and the religious right in NA-120 an indication that Punjab will be a battleground between PMLN and PTI in 2018 elections? Is PPP no longer relevant in Punjab?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

What is the Haqqani Network?

Why is India Sponsoring Terror in Pakistan?

Mullah Mansoor Akhtar Killing in US Drone Strike

Gen Petraeus Debunks Charges of Pakistani Duplicity

Husain Haqqani vs Riaz Haq on India vs Pakistan

Impact of Trump's Top Picks on Pakistan

Husain Haqqani Advising Trump on Pakistan Policy?

Gall-Haqqani-Paul Narrative on Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia vs India-US-Japan

Robert Gates' Straight Talk on Pakistan


Samson said...

US-Pakistan relations will get worse not better after Abbasi's recent CFR and UN speech. Both of those transcripts are on record and after it goes through governmental analysis the relations will further sour. Luckily all this is being overshadowed by North Korea for the time being.

Riaz Haq said...

Samson: " US-Pakistan relations will get worse not better after Abbasi's recent CFR and UN speech."

#Mattis tells #India to moderate its support of #TTP #terrorism in #Pakistan. #Afghanistan #talibans #RAW

by Bharat Karnad in Hindustan Times

" a former head of the US Central Command Mattis appreciates Pakistan’s indispensability as base for military operations to bring the Taliban in Afghanistan to their knees. But Islamabad has insisted that India’s role in Afghanistan be restricted and complained about the Indian support for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) accused by Islamabad of terrorism in Pakistan. The RAW-TTP link was publicly revealed in April this year by its former commander, Ehsanullah Ehsan.

Mattis’ request that India moderate its support for TTP will put Delhi in a fix because TTP is useful as an Indian counterpart of the Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Toiba, and Jaish-e-Mohammad deployed by the Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Jammu & Kashmir. Severing relations with TTP will mean India surrendering an active card in Pakistan and a role in Afghanistan as TTP additionally provides access to certain Afghan Taliban factions. This, together with the Abdul Ghani regime’s desire for India’s presence and the tested friendship with Abdul Rashid Dostum and his Tajik-dominated ‘Northern Alliance’, ensures that no solution for peace in Afghanistan can be cobbled together without India’s help.

Mattis’ returning home empty-handed will not hurt relations with the US at all because there’s China; and the US needs India to strategically hinder it."

Riaz Haq said...

Masters not friends
Expectations of Pakistani cooperation are disproportionate to the US commitment to Islamabad, even considering Washington’s generous aid budget
24-Sep-17 by Adam Weinstein

The relationship between the US and Pakistan is one of necessity rather than a common vision. It alternates between cooperation and hostility, occasionally teetering on the abyss of formally severed ties. Western observers of Pakistan have exhaustively and convincingly written about the dysfunction that Islamabad brings to the partnership and our latest squabble has solicited another dispatch of such articles. But what blame, if any, falls on Washington?

For decades Washington has misunderstood Pakistan’s political scene, miscalculated the nature of its security concerns, and all but ignored the complexities of its society. Expectations of Pakistani cooperation are disproportionate to US commitment to Islamabad, even considering Washington’s generous aid. Fears of an unlikely Islamist ascendancy followed by a loss of nuclear warheads garners too much concern while facilitating viable solutions for the Kashmir dispute are dismissed as impossible or irrelevant. And, Washington and Kabul’s own failings in Afghanistan have too often been pinned entirely on Pakistan even though the reality is much more complex.

During Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s administration, the US had the opportunity to assure Pakistan of future military aid but chose instead to adopt a risk-averse South Asia policy that would not upset India — the ally Washington wanted but could not have
Rather than forming a durable alliance with Pakistan, the US has consistently gauged assistance based on regional events.

Washington’s limited ability to dictate Islamabad’s foreign policy is the price of its unwillingness to commit to a monopoly over Pakistan’s security during the first quarter century of its statehood. Viewed exclusively as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, the US lacked the foresight to realise the permanent importance of Pakistan given its strategic location at the nexus of Iran, Afghanistan, India, and China. Over the years, Islamabad has periodically expressed its displeasure with Washington through publicised pivots toward Beijing, usually accompanied by major Chinese investment. For example, when relations cooled in the mid-1960s it led to closer economic ties with Beijing as illustrated by the construction of the Karakoram highway. This is again happening with CPEC, and Daniel Markey, a State Department veteran and Pakistan specialist recently wrote that “looking ahead, the United States will need to take China’s role and interests into account in ways that were unnecessary even just a decade ago.”


The question now is whether it is 2011 again? This was the year when Osama bin Laden was killed near Pakistan’s prestigious military academy and US aircraft killed twenty four Pakistani soldiers after allegedly firing from positions within Pakistan. Could Pakistan’s continued support for the Haqqani network combined with Washington’s unfair finger-pointing spark another incident like this? Possibly — but unlike 2011, the US administration does not have the diplomatic finesse to de-escalate the situation, and Pakistan is entering an election season where populism and standing up to Washington may win at the ballot box. Pakistan and the US do not have an indefinite number of resets available. Nobody within Pakistan’s political scene has offered a serious and practical alternative to the US. Meanwhile, Washington risks a war in Afghanistan where every restive province either borders Iran or an alienated Pakistan. Now more than ever diplomatic engagement is needed between the two nations and cool heads must prevail.

Jamshed said...

Pakistan always wanted relations with US to counter India militarily. In fact, that is the basis of all Pakistani foreign relations.
That may have some short term benefits but in the long run it will be counter productive and that is exactly where Pakistan is and will be.

Riaz Haq said...

Jamshed: " Pakistan always wanted relations with US to counter India militarily. In fact, that is the basis of all Pakistani foreign relations."

No, the real problem is the Indian foreign policy guided by Kautilya (crooked) or Chanakya also known as Indian Machiavelli.

India's ex foreign secretary Shyam Saran invokes Kauilya's name in the title of his book 'How India Sees the World: Kautilya to the 21st Century’

Here's what Kautilya said in his Arthasastra:

"Your neighbor is your natural enemy and your neighbor's neighbor is your friend"

It brings together India-Afghanistan (against Pakistan), India-Japan (against China).

Riaz Haq said...

US Def Sec Mattis accuses #Russia and #Iran of supplying arms to the #Taliban in #Afghanistan. via @dcexaminer

During Mattis’ Afghanistan visit, he faulted Russia and Iran for supplying arms to the Taliban. “Those two countries have suffered losses to terrorism, so I think it would be extremely unwise if they think they can somehow support terrorism in another country and not have it come back to haunt them,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal. Russia has denied sending weapons to the group.