Stories about Washington

Given the recent spat and strained relations, how will the Imran-Trump meet unfold?

Hoping to assuage strained bilateral relations between the United States (US) and Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington later this month has been met with enthusiasm from both sides. Despite the initial confusion regarding the visit, the official White House statement highlighted that the focus of Imran’s maiden visit will be on ‘strengthening cooperation’ in pursuit of regional security and peace; its vagueness unsurprisingly echoing previous visits by Pakistan’s premiers. What will undoubtedly be of interest is the sight of Imran and President Donald Trump finally coming face to face after their tense exchange on Twitter last ...

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Calling Iran’s bluff: Who are the real winners in the Gulf tanker crisis?

Iran has shot down what it claims to be a United States (US) spy drone in the Strait of Hormuz, accusing Washington of violating its airspace amidst escalating tensions between the two nations. Two days earlier, the US announced that it will deploy 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East in response to Iran’s “hostile behaviour”. The attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week marked a tipping point in their steadily deteriorating relationship, and although both countries insist that they want to avoid war, there are fears that recent developments could inevitably result in military confrontation. ...

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Govt shutdown: While the world is building bridges, an isolated US stands alone behind walls

Where do I begin? Who do I pin the blame on? How did we get here? What happened to my United States of America, where from the time I came of age until now, in the twilight years of my life, I’ve held on to the belief that this is it; this is the land where I belong; this is home, the values of which I am wedded to. Where did we go wrong? How did this completely unworthy and unruly under-achiever manage to get elected to the highest and most revered office of the country? We’ve had several government ...

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From “Pakistan needs to do more” to “Imran Khan was right”

United States(US) Senator Lindsey Graham has always taken a keen interest in foreign affairs. That being said, he’s rarely came across a war he did not vote in favour of, as he also supported the US war in Afghanistan. However, on a recent visit to Islamabad, he left stating that Imran Khan – a man who long before becoming Pakistan’s prime minister had repeatedly criticised America’s role in the region – was right all along. Speaking before journalists, Graham said, “Prime Minister Imran Khan was criticised over the decades… for talking about reconciling with the Taliban – he was right! One thing I ...

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17 years later, can the US grow out of the 9/11 mindset?

Just about a couple of days ago, on the eve of yet another 9/11 anniversary, I was telling a friend how painful these past 17 years have been for the US. What happened that dreadful September morning was nothing less than a shock to the American system; a jolt of unprecedented proportions that we, as a nation, still haven’t been able to get over or recover from in more than several different ways. September 11, 2001 changed America and the rest of the world forever. It tore apart the settled norms and values. It uprooted age-old beliefs that America must ...

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Nightmare come true: Is Trump preparing Syria to be the battlefield of WWIII?

The Trump administration is more confrontational toward Russia than Barack Obama was, Glenn Greenwald and Zaid Jilani wrote in The Intercept recently. There is certainly some truth to the statement, despite the fact Donald Trump has been regularly portrayed as an agent of Vladimir Putin, even before he was elected at the end of 2016. Never mind, for example, that Trump’s nominee to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, recently confirmed that, “A couple hundred Russians were killed by US forces in Syria earlier this year.” Pompeo wasn’t merely stating the blunt truth about an incident in February, in which US ...

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Pakistan and Russia: From Cold War foes to budding allies?

It is no secret that Pak-US ties are experiencing a downward spiral. However, there is some good coming out of this mistrust between both countries. The ongoing tensions have motivated Pakistan to reach out to regional stakeholders other than China for potential partnerships, and one such partner being actively pursued by Islamabad is its former Afghan-jihad foe, Russia. Who would have thought that after almost three decades of Soviet disintegration and Pakistan’s active role in the former’s defeat in Afghanistan, both countries’ foreign ministers would be warmly embracing each other in Moscow? Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif – who recently concluded a three-day visit to Russia and signed a number of ...

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The US never did and still doesn’t know what it is doing in Afghanistan

Almost a week on since I wrote on the (im)probability of peace talks with the Taliban, Afghanistan has not only seethed with violence but has further drifted into the abyss of terror. The country’s misery has continued in 2018 as a spate of major terror attacks, especially in the heavily-guarded capital of Kabul, has left its people reeling with agony, terror and fear. In the latest of these attacks, 11 soldiers were killed when five Islamic State (IS) militants attacked the Marshal Fahim National Defense University (MFNDU) on January 29th. This was the third major attack in just over a week, with the ...

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Pakistan’s asymmetrical response to Trump’s tweet is a clever way to flip the tables on Afghanistan

Donald Trump is soon going to regret what he tweeted about Pakistan on New Year’s Day, in accusing it of giving safe haven to terrorists, since Islamabad is poised to hit Washington with an asymmetrical counterpunch that it surely won’t forget. 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. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018 The Pakistani ...

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An Afghan-Indo-Pak alliance?: Stop looking for Uncle Sam’s hand-outs and helping hand

A beleaguered and bleeding Washington continues with its reckless, outrageous and undignified ways under the leadership of President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, fights for his credibility, as his job as the nation’s top diplomat is seemingly to rack up miles in Asia. For someone who thinks the utterly untruthful president, and his boss, is a “moron”, that’s quite a challenge. He’s representing the US at a time when the country’s image in the eyes of the world is dwindling; with mixed reactions coming from allies and adversaries alike. There is growing uncertainty surrounding the conduct of Washington’s foreign policy and ...

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