The president has spent his Christmas vacation in Florida golfing and tweeting. After a somewhat disturbingly self obsessed New Year’s Eve message, Trump took to Twitter early Monday to pick a fight with a country that has over the years proven to be an occasional important ally — Pakistan.
For the president to take to social media immediately undercuts the supposed seriousness of his foreign policy message. His grievance with the country is over their supposed harboring of terrorists, an allegation that the Pakistanis, of course, contest, but has been backed up by others.
In Trump’s Twitter New Year’s Day message to the country, Trump wrote:
‘The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!’
One of the main problems here becomes clear when considering comments from former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Ryan Crocker.
As the Financial Times reported Crocker to say back in September, the Pakistanis’ “narrative about us is here today, gone tomorrow and it has deeply affected their strategic thinking.” Crocker referenced the history of U.S. relations with Pakistan, a history marked by repeated fluctuations in our support for the country.
The tradition of these fluctuations is exactly what Trump is feeding into with his tweet, meaning that it’s far fetched to say the least that the president’s tough guy attitude will prove to impress the Pakistanis to the point of getting them to get on board with our counterterrorism efforts.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister responded to the president’s tweet with a tweet of his own, writing:
‘We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly inshallah…Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts & fiction..’