Source: Indian Express
Like others before him, President Trump has learned that while Pakistan’s generals do not share his country’s strategic aims, they can be a source of politically-valuable gifts. The beleaguered president desperately needs victories — and is clearly willing to overlook evidence of malfeasance in return. Even though the captives released this week were held in a region claimed to be free of terrorists, and by members of the Inter-Services Intelligence-linked Haqqani Network, the US President and his advisors have not asked the obvious questions.
This suggests that hopes that President Trump will pursue the strategic project of degrading Pakistan’s military and its jihadist allies are profoundly misplaced. In 2012, he had caustically asked when Pakistan would “apologise to us for providing safe sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden for 6 years”. Language of this kind is unlikely to be repeated any time soon.
President Trump’s willingness to be won over by the baubles offered by Pakistan’s generals will have significant consequences. Though Trump is far from the first US leader to seek to appease Pakistan’s generals for tactical gain, the circumstances in which he is operating mean the stakes are high. In recent months, Pakistan has slowly lapsed into de-facto military rule with the army successfully engineering the removal of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.