The President of the United States of America Donald Trump presented his administration’s Afghan and South Asia policy in a televised speech on 22 August, which had been finalized after considerable reviews and discussions.

While Pakistani analysts believe that Trumps policy is old wine in a new bottle and Pakistani authorities have shown great displeasure as Trump did not acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices in the War on Terror. Over the last two days China and Russia have come out openly against Trump’s policy and spoken in favor of Pakistan; they have also advised US to reconsider this policy as it is in no one’s interest or benefit.

Former Foreign Minister of Pakistan Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri talking to The Nation on this issue apart from giving his views about the line of action US plans to take, also shed light on absence of a foreign minister in Pakistan for four years thus did not present or fight its case at any forum. Regarding Trump’s policy he said, “President Donald Trump’s statement and language that he used was totally inappropriate for diplomacy.”

Explaining how nothing significant was presented in the policy Kasuri explained, “For months the US was giving indications that things would radically change after this policy review; but (it seems) they were making a mountain out of a molehill. The only two new things in the policy are, one they did not define when they would leave Afghanistan, secondly once the US ‘wins’ the war then they would bring the Taliban on the table. This was a very shallow statement.”

The US army re-centered Afghanistan after 9/11, earlier they were here providing material assistance during the Afghan jihad. Since then a war has been going on killing thousands of people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Former FM said, “They do not realize the outfall they [US Army] and Afghanistan would have to face after these statements.  Earlier such a huge US army was deployed in Afghanistan but it could not make a difference, then how can things change by pumping in a couple of thousand more soldiers. The only thing that would happen is, Taliban would start killing the US Army and (number of) Afghan civilian deaths would increase. Even a man like Hamid Karzai as President of Afghanistan had to tell the US that it should stop their interference in the country as many deaths took place during his tenure.”

After Trump’s statement China and Russia showed their annoyance and said that the US should review the new policy to maintain stability and peace in the region. Mr. Khursheed Kasuri was confident of Pakistan China friendship and said, “If US thinks that these statements and steps will make China abandon Pakistan, that’s not true. America should know that Pakistan will not compromise on two things no matter which government is in Power, one we [China, Pakistan] will not let go of our Nuclear program, so they should forget that they can intimidate us or pressurize us on this, and secondly on our sovereignty.”

Trump in his speech had criticized Pakistan for providing safe heavens to terrorists and said that if things did not change then US will attack at its one time and place anywhere in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Khursheed Kasuri responded to Trump’s criticism by saying, “Earlier America had an option of Northern District Network but that also ended with Russia. Has the US forgotten what Pakistan did with Northern Atlantic Trade Organization transit facility after the Salala attack? With such statements and tactics does the US think they can get away with it? This time the Pakistani public would react and even the Government would not be able to do anything because the Pakistani people have paid a very heavy price for this war.”

Since the PML (N) government came to power in 2013 Pakistan did not have a regular Foreign Minister which portfolio was kept by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sartaj Aziz and Tariq Fatimi where appointed advisers to Prime Minister, due to this situation Pakistan could not present its case at any forum nor lobby against its enemies (since the PM was not able to devote his full attention to Foreign policy affairs). Kasuri said “for four years we did not have a proactive foreign office. It was totally neglected and there was no leadership. Everyone knew that the US was preparing a new policy yet we did not lobby our cause. However it is still not late and we must undertake three things 1) lobby in the political arena, 2) civil-military leadership should be on one page and take China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Britain on board as they are our old friends, especially as the British know this area better than the American; and 3) if US tries to step a foot in Pakistan it should be aware that neither the Pakistan Army nor the Government would allow them to get away with it.”

The role of Pakistan in the war on terror has over the years been talked about both in negative and positive manners. While many at home said that we were fighting someone else’s war, many sided with the importance of having an Afghanistan free from foreign and internal interference, as such the ‘do more’ mantra became the byline for leaders in Pakistan. The current scenario calls for a rethink of our foreign policy both regional and global in view of our interests and future alignments so that our welfare and security does not depend on others policies, but their policies driven by Pakistan’s importance and standing in the region.