Trump wrote a letter to the Pakistani Prime Minister asking him for assistance in facilitating peace talks with the Taliban.
The news came as a surprise considering that it’s happening just weeks after Trump disrespected Pakistan on Twitter by claiming that it uses the US for aid while supposedly being insincere in its stated anti-terrorist commitments, but this volte-face by the US’ notoriously stubborn head of state speaks to the objective significance of Pakistan’s role in bringing peace to Afghanistan. For all the populist rhetorical points that he might have wanted to score at home through his aggressive tweets, Trump was ultimately forced to recognize that Pakistan’s participation in the Afghan peace process is irreplaceable and that Islamabad’s consistent support of a political solution instead of a military one is the only way out of this 17-year-long imbroglio.
For all intents and purposes, this letter is the closest that Pakistan – or any country for that matter – will probably ever receive to an apology from the US from its President’s hostile tweets against it, thus representing a significant diplomatic and moral victory for the South Asian state. The timing of this event wasn’t coincidental either, since it comes on the heels of Moscow hosting multilateral peace talks with the Taliban for the first time in history and just before US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad set off for a nearly three week tour of regional countries (beginning with Pakistan) to discuss the prospects for peace in Afghanistan, hence Washington’s outreach to Islamabad.
About that, Prime Minister Khan reaffirmed that his country will always do whatever it can to facilitate peace among its brotherly people in the neighboring nation, but one should remember that there’s only so much that Pakistan can do because it doesn’t control the Taliban like the US and some other states have alleged. Rather, it – just like China, Russia, and even the US itself – maintains contacts with some members of the organization that could be utilized to encourage them to participate in another round of peace talks, though the Taliban might be reluctant to do so after the US just killed one of its senior commanders in a drone strike last weekend.
Therefore, it remains to be seen just how successful this latest American-led peace initiative will be, and whether or not the US is even sincere in the first place. It could very well just be that Trump feels like he needs to make a show out of trying to deliver something tangible in this respect prior to the upcoming 2020 elections, seeing as how his “Military First” strategy has abysmally failed there and nobody even remembers the so-called “Mother Of All Bombs” (MOAB) stunt that he pulled in spring 2017. The US is increasingly being squeezed out of the real Afghan peace process streamlined by the Golden Ring of multipolar Great Powers and led by the Russian-Chinese-Pakistani Trilateral, hence Khalilzad’s desperate attempt to make it seem like America still matters.
By Andrew Korybko
Source: Oriental Review