“No more!”: Trump Threatens Aid to Pakistan in First Tweet of 2018

John Tabin // Posted at 9:00 am on January 01, 2018

The president’s first tweet of the new year calls out the Islamic Republic of Pakistan:

This didn’t come out of nowhere; the New York Times reported last week that the administration was debating withholding aid to Pakistan:

Now, the Trump administration is strongly considering whether to withhold $255 million in aid that it had delayed sending to Islamabad, according to American officials, as a show of dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s broader intransigence toward confronting the terrorist networks that operate there.

The administration’s internal debate over whether to deny Pakistan the money is a test of whether President Trump will deliver on his threat to punish Islamabad for failing to cooperate on counterterrorism operations. Relations between the United States and Pakistan, long vital for both, have chilled steadily since the president declared over the summer that Pakistan “gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror.”

The United States, which has provided Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid since 2002, said in August that it was withholding the $255 million until Pakistan did more to crack down on internal terrorist groups. Senior administration officials met this month to decide what to do about the money, and American officials said a final decision could be made in the coming weeks.

Trump’s tweet suggests that the decision to get tougher with Islamabad has been made. This may only be the beginning; as the Times article noted, in February the Hudson Institute issued a report urging the US to stop viewing Pakistan as an ally — and the report’s coauthor, Lisa Curtis, now sits on the National Security Council.