Pakistan, Palestinians have a cow as Trump tweets the truth about US aid

President Trump drew infuriated reactions from Pakistan and from the Palestinians with his tweeted warnings that they might not deserve all the U.S. aid they're getting.  Were these just off-the-wall late-night musings or a sign of big changes coming?

According to Singapore's Straits Times, citing Reuters and Agence France-Presse reports:

Pakistani [p]rime [m]inister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was yesterday due to chair a Cabinet meeting that was expected to focus on Mr[.] Trump's tweet.  And the country's top civilian and military chiefs are expected to meet today to discuss deteriorating [U.S.] ties.

Pakistani [f]oreign [m]inister Khawaja Asif dismissed Mr[.] Trump's comments as a political stunt borne [sic] out of frustration over [U.S.] failures in Afghanistan, where Afghan Taleban [sic] militants have been gaining territory and carrying out major attacks.

"He has tweeted against us (Pakistan) and Iran for his domestic consumption," Mr[.] Asif told Geo TV on Monday.  "He is again and again displacing his frustrations on Pakistan over failures in Afghanistan as they are trapped in (a) dead-end street in Afghanistan."

Mr Asif added that Pakistan did not need [U.S.] aid.

And according to RT News:

"Jerusalem is not for sale, neither for gold nor for silver," Nabil Abu Rdainah said on Wednesday.  He added: "If the United States is keen about peace and about its interests, it must abide by that."  Hanan Ashrawi, a senior executive of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said that Palestinians "will not be blackmailed."

Here are the tweets that drew such outrage:

It's not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others. As an example, we pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don't even want to negotiate a long overdue...

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018 


...peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018

Powerline has a fine summary of the broad picture and context here

So they're pretty fiery exchanges.  But is it Trump just playing around with the buttons, as the NeverTrumps and the political left might say?  Don't think so.

For starters, when you've got the Atlantic Monthly siding with Trump, you might just consider there's something big going on.  That magazine ran a piece headlined "Trump's Belligerence toward Pakistan Isn't Unreasonable."  Its writer noted that Trump's critique "was a long time coming."  In other words, "about time."

Trump criticized Islamabad's policy toward Kabul in his Afghan strategy speech last August.  He also doubled[] down on the U.S. military presence in the country[;] accused Pakistan of sheltering "the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people[]"[;] and, perhaps worse from Pakistan's view, called on India "to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development."  Then in December, while announcing his national[] security strategy, the president said the U.S. wants a "continued partnership" with Pakistan, but that "we must see decisive action against terrorist groups operating on their territory."  Vice President Mike Pence repeated those accusations in remarks to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  Other U.S. officials and the Pentagon have also singled out Pakistan's role.

Besides the Atlantic coming down on Trump's side, there's also the fact that U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, came down on the Trump side, too, saying Pakistan has been playing "a double-game."  Haley is a conservative but tends to have an independent streak and says Trump doesn't give her orders.  If she's saying this and coming down against these wretched aid recipients who manage only to undercut us, it sounds as if there's a consolidating position, both from the foreign policy establishment and even from the NeverTrumps.

Another thing worth noting, at least in the case of Pakistan, is that India is delighted, couldn't feel more vindicated.  "Music to India's ears," tweeted one Indian cited in the report here.

That suggests further consolidation of the already warm U.S.-Indian relations and an increasingly heavy lever amassing to ensure that change comes to the Middle East.  Already Saudi Arabia is changing for the better.  Iran is in full blown revolt. The Islamic State is on the run, and terrorists are feeling the burn in Afghanistan.

What it all suggests is that Trump really wants to win the war and get the U.S. out of that hellish region.  The way to do it is to assert U.S. interests, including moving the U.S. embassy to its rightful place in Jerusalem.  Right now, U.S. aid has only been propping up and abetting the terrorist-supporting forces both in Pakistan and among the Palestinians.  Cut that off, and watch the bad guys either run or reform.  There's every reason to think Trump, through his tweets, is serious.

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