Donald Trump in his speech on Afghanistan scolded Pakistan for allegedly failing to use its position effectively despite hefty financial backing of Pentagon. Trump accused Pakistan of nurturing safe havens for terrorists and allowing them space to operate successfully which eventually disrupts the peace process envisioned in Afghanistan by America. In an attempt to present himself as more of a serious and astute politician, Trump put forward his future strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia. The US president delivered exactly what the US media and war mongers in the country wanted.

Tump clearly parted ways with his campaign promise of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. After the swift departure of Steve Bannon - Trump’s chief strategist, this was a major step taken away from the policy devised by Bannon and Trump. It was evident from scathing response by the far-right news agency Brietbart which accused the president of becoming a puppet of generals, after sanctioning more troops to counter the Taliban, ISIS and Al Qaida in Afghanistan.

Continuously marred by controversies and deemed unfit to rule America, Trump has been caught in a catch-22 situation. On one side, he has his populist support base which will not be pleased with this shift in strategy as it contradicted the campaign pledge on reducing the role of US military interventions abroad. Far-right will want answers as he was elected on populist rhetoric which rejected the stance of Obama administration on military adventures which were deemed unwinnable. While on the flip-side, Trump has to fight the ever-plunging support among the status-quo, amid the inquiry in to alleged role of Russians in facilitating his election campaign. Fearing the looming crises, ongoing fiasco and humiliation in White House, this opportunity presented him with a way to boost his credentials.

Trump has certainly ceased this opportunity, if one assesses the media’s favourable reaction. Him aligning closely with India and presenting the case for India’s future role in development of Afghanistan and lambasting Pakistan for doing so little (in dismantling the terrorist networks) points clearly towards his government’s inability to offer anything new as he repeated the rhetoric of his predecessors. Ironically, he stated his “strategy will change dramatically” but analysis of his speech depicts that he had nothing new to offer. This is simply a continuation of the older policy. Following the footsteps of his predecessors; Bush and Obama, he wanted to give an impression of change depicting a major shift in the policy but in fact it was the same old story of ‘do more’, ‘threat of vacuum in case of hasty withdrawal’ and ‘seeking an honourable exit’ to honour the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives’. Change was simply an illusion created to dodge voters.

In reaction to Trump’s speech, Pakistan’s Ambassador to United States Aizaz Ahmad has reaffirmed Pakistan’s stance that, ‘there are no safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan’. He also regretted the US failure to acknowledge the huge sacrifices of Pakistan in the war on terror. Similar statement was also issued by the country’s Foreign Office which also reasserted Pakistan’s continuous efforts in combating terrorism.

Though, Foreign Office was late to respond on the matter. However, China was quick to put the record straight by backing Pakistan’s efforts in fighting terrorism as a front line state. But, why did China respond promptly to rebut Trumps offensive against Pakistan? Did Trump reprimanded Pakistan or indirectly it was China?

China has huge stakes in Pakistan’s sovereignty and its functioning as a safe country which could facilitate its dream of creating a new Silk Road. China’s economy is on track to overtake US economy in the next decade. The Sub-continent and Afghanistan always had a pivotal importance in the global history. Even today, Pakistan is instrumental in linking east with west through its geographical location. New Silk Road of China (in the making) is to offer further prosperity to already growing China and all the countries linked on its way to Europe. With prospects of new markets opening, prompting close cooperation between Pakistan, Afghanistan and China, economic hurdles for America will increase.Therefore, US disapproves this new dawn as it will prove the lifeblood for the connected countries especially Russia.

For example, this new route will potentially bring cheaper and plentiful energy via a new pipeline having a capacity of 950 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year through Central Asia, Turkey from Russia  Similarly, investment in railways will increase the containers transported through train from 7,500 in 2012 to 7.5 million by 2020. China is willing to connect Paris, Berlin, Balkans, Moscow, central Asian countries linking Iran with Pakistan. This will pave way for minerals, energy sources and will connect the oceans with cities and will boost the volume of trade sharply which will tilt the tides in favor of China.

Why would America want China to have access to resources to fulfill its economic needs in the future? Any disruptions in the Silk Road plans could undermine China’s economic supremacy. And America would never want China to succeed in its ambitious plans.

Trump cannot be termed as shrewd or astute politician. He is too naïve for a politician. Steve Bannon was right when he said Trump looks more like a puppet of generals in the White House. Briefings by generals has certainly transformed his opinion, no wonder he said in his speech, ‘all my life I heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office’. Well, you heard right Mr President because it is the status quo which runs America not presidents like you. By continuing the failed strategy and paradigm of the last 16 years, Trump has in fact renewed his war against peace in Pakistan and China’s prospects to build a New Silk Road.