Imran Khan had changed his earlier ambassador to US, Ali Jehangir Siddiqui and brought in Asad Majeed Khan. He later realized that Ali was a good friend of Jared Kushner. And that could be one way to get an invite from the White House. So, he installed Ali back as “Ambassador at large” so he could use his “good offices” to secure a meeting with Donald Trump. So it is being said that it was Ali who used his relationship with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to get the audience with POTUS.
As Najam Sethi tries to twist himself into knots to make the humiliation of Imran Khan in US look “normal”, he also lets the cat out of the bag on how the whole deal was done.
And, Pakistan PM did meet with Jared Kushner, the facilitator, in the White House as well.
Trump agreed to give him an audience in the White House. While generally the US State Department takes the lead on the parleys with the foreign dignitaries, in this case they were in the dark. It was a sort of “coup” that Imran Khan and Pakistanis wanted to do.
The Pakistanis knew that here was finally a US President who could be twisted and cajoled to make some silly remarks and win points for the government at home. IN a dreary world of bankruptcy and terror sponsoring, just one off the cuff – tutored remark from the POTUS could do wonders for India’s poor neighbor.
So the two incorrigible playboys, now Heads of their States, met. They obviously shared the penchant for women. Maybe perhaps even sharing the same women!
A meeting was held. With ostensibly no State Department involvement. And Trump did what Pakistan had hoped he will do and what they had hoped he will not do. He first took apart Pakistan and humiliated the Prime Minister Khan.
And then to compensate for that, he made a complete fool of himself with respect to India!
Little realizing that this was the exact opposite of what the Indian government has always stood for. Even more so the Modi Government. No other government in recent memory has been so strongly involved in finding a lasting solution for terrorism and Kashmir as Modi government has been. So this was not just a shocker. It was plain crazy.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs was quick to refute.
The US State Department that was hitherto silent as the POTUS was slowly and surely pulling the rug from under their feet and making their lives miserable suddenly swung into action. With the deftness of a trapeze artist, they tried to balance between the tomfoolery of their President and India’s fury.
The Indian journalists are now discussing how the White House is walking it all back as well. And this was apparent from the White House release yesterday on the meeting between the two leaders. There was no mention of Kashmir at all.
There are so many inconsistencies between what Pakistan wants and what it thinks it got from the whole Trump verbal diarrhea. And the Indian analysts are clear on what awaits Pakistan overall.
Manu Raju, the White House correspondent from the CNN alluded to how totally delusional Trump was and how he had been rebuffed by India.
So much is the push back within the US establishment to Trump’s waywardness that important Congressmen are coming out to reset the whole situation by bringing down what Trump said.
Congressmen Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Brad Sherman, Chair of U.S. House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation, have come out and clearly denounced Trump statements right away!
The forever vigilant and outspoken Christine Fair minces no words in saying what needed to be said. albeit in her own way.
On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi, being the sorry joker that he is and the head of the B-team of ISI, said what he was expected to say. What else can this guy say anyway?
In this whole media warfare over Kashmir, no one said it better than Aarti Tikoo Singh, on this whole situation. Let us not forget that Kashmir – the whole Kashmir, including the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir – is the integral part of the Indian state. And it is not even a bilateral matter in that sense. So, India really does not need to talk to anyone, least of all Pakistan to do what needs to be done in Kashmir.
It is very important to understand the basics of Kashmir.
Kashmir issue and what Trump wants?
To get the context and background on Kashmir and the circumstances surrounding it, we highly recommend these two detailed articles.
One will understand that Kashmir is really not a bilateral issue at all. It is an unfinished agenda from 1947, where it needs to be properly taken care of by India. PM Modi is on track to do just that!
In the future we will see how the irrelevant actors are cut out and the absorption within the state is completed.
Now, as for Trump. Modi obviously told him that US needs to pressurize Pakistan on terrorism, which it is perpetuating in India, specifically Kashmir. Now, that is not mediation on Kashmir. But asking US to do its role that it has assumed in the “War on Terror”!
Having said that, Trump has been having some trade issues and has been indulging in online rantings on India and tariffs.
This, he tweeted a day before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was to land in New Delhi. He tried to give the message of “new age of ambition”, but as it turns out he came back without any progress. Modi and his MEA Jaishankar are in no mood to relent so easily. All this had started with Trump taking away the preferential trade status for India. This status had allowed $5.6 billion in Indian imports to enter the United States duty-free. In retaliation, India hiked tariffs on 28 products.
From all accounts, Trump is probably trying to use the Kashmir issue statement to pressurize Modi on the trade side with a “back off or else” strategy.
Such things don’t usually work in geopolitical diplomacy. Very soon you start losing all the cards and the other guy does not relent. There can be many other levers that may come into play. There is the whole China angle, the Afghanistan angle. And, of course, the relationship with Russia.
Plus US is trying to see if they can get the large fighter plan contract for Lockheed Martin or Boeing. US tried to offer the F-35 if India scraps the S-400 deal with Russia, but India did not scrap it. They even offered F-21 with the clause that it will not be sold to any other country if India bought it.
India is looking for large contract and that could be in jeopardy if Trump plays these games. It is, as it stands – with India needing 114 jets, the largest fighter jets deal in the world! Now, THAT would mean a loss of many thousands of jobs for the US!
The question for Trump is – Does he want to piss Modi, who just came with such a strong majority, so badly on a topic that Modi can simply keep quiet and wait out, while following his own game plan? There is precious little that Trump can do in what Modi has planned for Kashmir.
But in trying to piss him off and trying to win brownie points with Imran Khan after humiliating him and at the same time playing it tough on the trade side, he is really playing a big fluke with very little in hand!
From the Pakistani standpoint, one really wonders what they got out of the whole exercise? Except for a few talking points at home, it is unlikely that they have received any money from US or Trump. And it is unlikely that they will get any sympathy for terrorism amongst anyone in his base at all. In fact, Trump’s base will want to bay for Pakistan’s blood – figuratively – when it comes to how Pakistan has hurt.
Guess what, recently even Nikki Haley discussed Pakistan’s relationship to US in very clear and unambiguous terms.
So Imran Khan did not get any money as Trump humiliatingly told him. And he sure ain’t getting any lending ear on terrorism platitudes.
All he got was this one silly statement that everyone and his brother of any significance in the US establishment has either rejected or distanced from?
Now, that is some accomplishment!