A couple of days ago, Nikki Haley did the heavy lifting in notifying the Pakistanis that the rope-a-dope they’ve been using on the United States since at least 2001 was coming to an end. For nearly two decades, Pakistan has taken billions of dollars from the United States and, in return, pretended to fight terrorism while not only fomenting terror attacks on India but harboring al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists. Haley informed them that the $255 million they’d expected to get in foreign military sales financing wasn’t going to happen.
UN Amb. Nikki Haley says U.S. withholding $255 million in assistance to Pakistan. "Pakistan has played a double game for years…that game is not acceptable to this administration." https://t.co/CFdzczE0fE pic.twitter.com/tPYkAdP92R
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 2, 2018
Today, the other shoe didn’t drop, the 10-lb sledgehammer did.
First, State announced that it was placing Pakistan on a special watch list for its violation of religious freedom.
US State Department puts Pakistan on a special watch list for “severe violations of religious freedom designating it "a county of particular concern". A statement issued by the DoS says it had re-designated 10 countries as “countries of particular concern” including Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/W1kXng0MDu
— VOA DEEWA (@voadeewa) January 4, 2018
The U.S. State Department has placed Pakistan on a special watch list for “severe violations of religious freedom,” it said on Thursday, days after the White House said Islamabad would have to do more to combat terrorism to receive U.S. aid.
Then the big blow came: Trump administration suspends most security aid to Pakistan
The Trump administration will suspend most security assistance to Pakistan, the State Department said on Thursday, expanding its retribution over militant safe havens that U.S. officials blame for ongoing violence in Afghanistan.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, speaking to reporters, said the suspension would allow the administration, which will freeze the aid payments but not allocate the money elsewhere, to reassess in the coming year.
For years, U.S. officials have complained that Pakistan has allowed the Taliban and other extremists to operate within its borders. Taliban leaders are widely believed to reside in Pakistan, helping to direct insurgent operations in neighboring Afghanistan.
Pakistan denies those allegations and says the United States has failed to acknowledge the efforts it has taken against militant groups.
While the administration is following a carrot-and-stick approach — they’ve suspended but not terminated aid — not everyone is so forgiving:
I’m introducing a bill to end aid to Pakistan in the coming days. My bill will take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges here at home. pic.twitter.com/SHlA00rWEd
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 4, 2018
And there has been the predictable outcry. (Apparently, the foreign policy establishment has never heard insanity defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.)
Wow. US suspends nearly all security aid to Pakistan. https://t.co/zqQnKMBDIm Islamabad is a double dealer when it comes to terrorism, but half of that deal is to combat terror, particularly in AfPak border. I cannot see how this shakes out to our benefit.
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) January 4, 2018
In last 24 hours Trump has threatened to 1) cut aid to nuclear-armed, terrorist-laden Pakistan; 2) cut aid to miffed Palestinians after he alters US Jerusalem policy, and 3) boasted his nuclear button is bigger than Kim Jung-un's. This is our commander-in-chief. Think about it.
— Richard N. Haass (@RichardHaass) January 3, 2018
Know what, I have thought about that and I think that we’ve tried the same thing over and over and over and gotten the same result. If we want a different outcome we need a different action. I don’t pretend to know how these gambits will play out but I know they at least hold the chance for success. The status quo doesn’t.