President Trump issued his first tweet of 2018 insulting Pakistan and building on his threat to cut off foreign military financing that is one piece of the massive assistance package that the US gives the country each year.
“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,” trump tweeted Monday morning. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” he added.
When it comes to Pakistan, it is true that US counter-terrorism objectives and a desire for stability in South Asia have largely tended to outweigh longstanding concerns over terrorist activity nurtured and supported within Pakistan’s borders. Despite specific periods of cooperation – and even hope that Pakistani leadership may have decided to shift gears and take strategic steps to address the problem, the US relationship with Pakistan has been deeply pockmarked by times of estrangement resulting from Pakistan’s unwillingness to root out its own bad actors.
The Trump administration has pursued a policy of using US foreign assistance dollars to bully countries to fall in line with the United States. In December, President Trump and Ambassador Nikki Haley threatened to cut off aid to countries that voted against the United States at the UN General Assembly.