NEWS INDIA TIMES

ver the holiday weekend, the Trump administration canceledmore than $300 million in aid to Pakistan as punishment for its continued un- willingness to take decisive action against the Taliban and other ex- tremist groups. That decision is eminently justified and reasonable in light of Pakistan's long record of double-dealing. Yet it has little chance of actually altering the Pakistanis' bad behavior. The break has been a long time coming. Almost since the start of the U.S. war in Afghanistan after 9/11, American officials have been frustrated with Pakistan's ten- dency to demand high levels of U.S. funding and support while simultaneously sheltering, equipping and enabling the very insurgents American troops are fighting, as well as an array of deadly terrorist groups. The GeorgeW. Bush administration sought to change Pakistani behavior by cozy- ing up to then-President Pervez Musharraf - treating him as an authentic partner in hopes that he would become one. (Musharraf, who had taken power in a military coup in 1999, stepped down in 2008.) The Obama administration - while dra- matically ramping up targeted strikes within Pakistan - took a "more for more" approach, providing Pakistan with $7.5 billion in aid for economic and social programs, in addition to continuing military aid, in a bid to elicit greater cooperation. Both approaches did produce significant transactional collaboration - Pakistan al- lowed critical logistical support and access for the war in Afghanistan, and also arrested or killedmore members of al-Qaida in the decade after 9/11 than perhaps any other na- tion. Yet neither approach persuaded the Pak- istani "deep state" - the powerful military and intelligence services - to sever its ties to the Taliban, even after that organization birthed a Pakistani spinoff that conducted deadly attacks against the Pakistani govern- ment. And neither approach induced Islam- abad to cease supporting, either actively or passively, an array of malevolent jihadist groups, some of which were initially nurtured as tools of asymmetric warfare against India, and some of which came to target a broader set of enemies, including the U.S. In 2011, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, went public with American frustration, describing the Haqqani network - a notable purveyor of ter- ror and a key player in the Afghan insurgency - as a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Ser- vices Intelligence. This was only months after Osama bin Laden was found and killed just a short distance fromPakistan's premier mili- tary academy. In terms of Pakistan's relation- ship with radicals, not much has changed since then. As a result, U.S. aid to Pakistan was already trending sharply downward at the end of the Obama administration, which refused to release a portion of Pakistani mili- tary aid in 2016. Enter DonaldTrump. AlthoughTrump had some warmwords for Pakistan and its lead- ers during the presidential transition, it soon became clear that Islamabad's "Pakistan First" policy was slamming head-first into Trump's America First agenda. The president ripped Pakistan in a speech announcing the mini-surge in Afghanistan in August 2017. "We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting," he declared. "But that will have to change, and that will change imme- diately." Days later, the administration delayed a $255 million aid payment to Pakistan (in the formof reimbursement for Pakistani military operations). Several months after that, Trump rang in the NewYear with at tweet de- nouncing Pakistan for its "lies & deceit," which led to a broader freeze onmost U.S. military aid. Most recently, the administra- tion permanently reprogrammed - not sim- ply delayed or suspended - $300 million in military aid. Publicly slamming a country for lies and deceit may not be textbook diplomacy, yet in some ways it is hard to argue withTrump's tougher line. For many years, Pakistan has played both the arsonist and the firefighter, stoking the flames of Islamist insurgency and terror and then profiting from its efforts to contain those very blazes. It has manipulated its reputation as an unstable nuclear power and used its strategic frontage on the Afghan border to essentially blackmail the U.S. and the international community. Those in charge of prosecuting the U.S. war in Afghanistan are acutely aware that Pakistan is in the business of empowering in- surgents and jihadists that are trying to kill Americanmilitary personnel. And although the U.S. has received benefits in return for billions of dollars in aid - it would have been impossible to fight a prolonged war in Afghanistan or decimate core al-Qaida with- out the assistance Pakistan provided - Trump is right that all this aid failed to bring about a decisive strategic reorientation. Pakistan has therefore been asking for something like this for quite a long time. Yet the remaining question is whether an emo- tionally satisfying policy will be a more effec- tive policy, and here the logic of Trump's approach is, regrettably, less compelling. -B LOOMBERG News India Times September 14, 2018 2 Opinion O T he frenzied search for the identity of the author who penned the anony- mous op-ed in the NewYork Times, in essence confirming it really is Crazyland over at theWhite House, consumesWashington. Anyone can play the guessing game, and for now no one can prove a guess is wrong. Hence, the perfect, gossipy discussion for po- litical junkies. However, the more interesting mystery came up in the confirmation hear- ing for Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. As the hearing spilled into the evening, former California state attorney general Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., threw Kavanaugh off guard with a line of inquiry regarding conver- sation(s) about the Russia investigation that he may have had with anyone at Kasowitz BensonTorres, the law firm founded by Pres- ident DonaldTrump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz. When Kavanaughmeekly asked, "I would like to know the person you're thinking of," Harris responded frostily: "I think you're thinking of someone and you don't want to tell us." Kavanaugh looked confused, if not nervous. He hadn't seen this coming. The exchange included Republican Sen. Mike Lee's clumsy attempt to bail out Ka- vanaugh. Now, if Harris has evidence he had an in- appropriate or conflict-creating interchange with the president's lawyer, it is critical we hear about it. If not, it is unfair to leave the inference hanging out there. If she is ham- pered in explaining this because of the cockamamie restrictions on documents that Republicans have erected, it is time for De- mocrats to cry foul, put whatever they have out there and let Republicans justify their at- tempts to hide the ball. This may be a break-out moment for the junior senator fromCalifornia. Harris on Tuesday showed her flair for the dramatic in raising objections over Republicans' refusal tomake hundreds of thousands of pages of documents available to the public. On Wednesday she followed by showing her prosecutorial skill. Don't ask a question you don't know the answer to. Don't bail out a witness who is struggling. If she doesn't really have anything of sig- nificance, the incident will be forgotten - or cited as evidence that she is all show. How- ever, if she's dug up a nugget of something that could throw the nomination off track, she'll be an instant Democratic heroine. At the very least, she's got senators and staffers on both sides of the aisle scratching their heads. In green rooms and on social media, staffers and lawmakers are buzzing. "What's she got?" "I don't know, but that was a weird exchange." Her splash comes at the time that the White House is in utter turmoil.White House paranoia runs rampant (and sometimes paranoids have reason to think someone is out to get them). The president's mental and emotional state is called into question by his own advisers. Given all this, one wonders if theWhite House was caught flat-footed on something significant, and if it is now pre- pared to deal with a bobble in an all-critical nomination. Given the utter chaos that has enveloped theWhite House, its effort to rush this nomi- nation through and its effort to keep as much of Kavanaugh's material as possible out of the public eye, we cannot eliminate the pos- sibility they wound upmissing something. -T HE W ASHINGTON P OST The Second-most-intenseGuessing Game InDC Published weekly, Founded in 1975. The views expressed on the opinion pages are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of News IndiaTimes. Copyright © 2017, News IndiaTimes News IndiaTimes (ISSN 0199-901X) is published every Friday by ParikhWorldwide Media LLC., 35 Journal Square, Suite 204, Jersey City, NJ 07306 Periodicals postage paid at Jersey City, N.J. , and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address change to News IndiaTimes, 35 Journal Square, Suite 204, Jersey City, NJ 07306 Annual Subscription: United States: $28 Dr. Sudhir M. 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