President Donald Trump’s first tweet of 2018 concerned U.S. relations with Pakistan. At 7:12 AM Monday, Trump tweeted, “The United States has foolishly given Pakstan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan with little help. No more!”
The administration is deliberating on whether to give Pakistan $255 million in aid that it put into an escrow account in August 2017. This tweet appears to be a clue as to how those deliberations are going.
Pakistanis didn’t take long to respond. Muhammad Omair, for example, responded on the commemt thread that it was Pakistan that was the victim of state-sponsored terrorism, not the sponsor, “India is sponsoring terror activities in Pakistan.”
More officially, Pakistan’s prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, called a meeting of his National Security Committee to discuss the implications of this tweet. After the meeting, the NSC issued a statement that Trump’s statement “contradicted facts” and showed great insensitivity with regard to “the trust between two nations built over generations.”
Left Wing View
Louis Nelson, in Politico, writing Tuesday, offered an even handed statement of the position of the two governments. This included the observation that Osama bin Laden “was killed in a U.S. raid on a compound located in the same city as the Pakistani military academy,” a fact that suggests that Pakistan has been a haven (though not an entirely safe one). On the other hand, Nelson notes that Pakistan “has long disputed the notion that it is less than a full partner in combating terrorism.”
Kurt Eichenwald, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, tweeted Tuesday that Trump’s attack on Pakistan is “inexplicable,” “ignorant,” and “out of nowhere.”
Also, there have been those who have observed that it is simply erroneous to say that the U.S. has gotten “nothing but lies…” etc. from the relationship. It has received an infrastructure for land and air communication, military bases, and intelligence communication. The Pakistan Defense Ministry says that the intel cooperation between our two nations is what has “decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16 years.”
Judy C expressed much leftwing opinion when she tweeted that this is part of a pattern, that Trump is “alienating the world one idiocy at a time.”
Some observers also noted that Pakistan is a nuclear power, and worry that Trump may be destabilizing the long standoff between Pakistan and India.
Right Wing View
A statement from the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, indicates that the Trump tweet was something more than just a tweet, that it was a harbinger of a policy change.
POTUS “is willing to go to great lengths to stop all funding from Pakistan as they continue to harbor and support terrorism,” Haley said.
Trump’s tweet seems to have cheered some who disbelieve in foreign aid for more generally applicable reasons than Trump actually invoked here. Senator Rand Paul said he can “wholeheartedly agree” with the Trump tweet, because it is wrong when “politicans tax us to send … money to corrupt and duplicitous regimes abroad.”
Likewise, Steven Crowder, of the “Louder with Crowder” podcasts, says of Trumps’ tweet simply, “Excellent.”
And, finally, Trump’s tweet is playing well to his base, including “K ramirez,” a twitter denizen herself who writes, “It’s amazing to watch self-proclaimed progressive liberals embracing and defending Pakistan and the Iranian mullahs simply because their hatred for Donald Trump runs so deep. What a time to be alive.”
Another evident member of the base says, “World needs leaders who call a spade a spade. One thing we can appreciate about Trump is his open straightforward opinions avoiding hypocrisy.”