Take away of President Trump’s maiden visit to Saudi Arabia was a clearly stated US foreign policy towards Middle East, which had remained ambiguous throughout Obama’s tenure. Unsurprisingly, the policy is the clear manifestation of real-politik, where values have no permanence than that of permanent interest.

Despite of the fact that democracy has been the central component of the US foreign policy, Trump did not mention the word ‘democracy’ during his two-day trip to the Kingdom. US Department of State envisions that democratically governed nations are more likely to secure the peace, deter aggression, combat international terrorism and crime, and improve global environment. Nonetheless, the United States has signed the biggest arms deal of its history with a non-democratic government in order to secure peace and combat international terrorism. Moreover, United States has also signed a declaration named the Riyadh Pact to pledge 34,000 troops to support operations against terrorism in Iraq and Syria, with 55 Islamic countries. Significantly, most of the countries are constitutional monarchies or dictatorships. Therefore, peace through democratic means, promotion of democracy and democratic values are just rhetoric. Values have no value in pursuit of hard national interests.

The stated principle of US foreign policy to promote democracy as a means to achieve security, stability, and prosperity has now overshadowed by the arms deal of US 110 billion dollars. The significance of the deal is very easy to understand as the total worth of the Saudi-US arms deal is as twice of the total worth of the CPEC, which means that Saudi Arabia is spending double in the arms, security, communications and missile defense system than that of what Pakistan and China is spending on the infrastructural projects. Resultantly, the security concerns, threat perception and arms race in the region will instantly beef-up by any reason. As far as the threat of ISIS or ISIL is concerned, that needs to be handled strategically instead of blindly investing in the arms and armies. President Trump himself rightly pointed-out that we need to cut down and stop the terror financing to fight terrorism. So, there is no need to pile up weapons and foot soldiers to stop terror financing. This can be done through cyber-technology and surveillance systems. However, air space and limited ground support can be utilised in order to dismantle the safe heavens of different terrorist groups operating in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.

All that happened in the Arab Islamic American Summit is altogether antagonistic to one of the goals of US foreign policy that is to identify and denounce regimes who deny their citizens’ right to choose their leaders in elections. President General ® Fatah Al-Sisi who thrown out the elected government of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, was seen at the right side of the President Trump while the inauguration of Global Centre for countering terrorism in Riyadh. The scenario has rightly indicated that Egypt will be the frontline ally of the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) of 55 Islamic countries. However, pledge to the cause or to the US interests is the basic criteria for making alliance with the US, instead of fulfilling the commitments like democracy and free and fair elections.

On the other hand, the country which has been the front line state in the war against terror since the beginning, has not been duly acknowledged. Deliberately or mistakenly, President Trump did not even mention the sacrifices of Pakistan in the war against terrorism. Height of irony was the moment when Donald Trump acknowledge the sacrifices made by India against the terrorism. India is the country whose state sponsored terrorist and brutal activities within Indian occupied Kashmir is a routine phenomenon. Kulbhushan Jadhav is yet another living example of Indian sponsored terrorism within Pakistan, nevertheless, India turned out to be the one of the victims of terrorism while the name of Pakistan was not amongst the countries fighting against terrorism and making incomparable sacrifices. Moreover, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is the man who had been long fighting against all odds in the country with respect to the civil-military balance of power. Despite historic baggage in terms of consistent military rule, Pakistan is promoting democratic values and transferring power through due electoral process. Thus we deserve the political and moral support from the country like US according to their principles of foreign policy. But unfortunately the Arab Islamic American Summit episode was embarrassing for Pakistan. Neither did brotherly Saudi Kingdom felt it worthy that the Pakistani Prime Minister deliver a two-minute talk at the forum, nor did the United States bother, and stayed silent.

The United States of America is the biggest power with a number of options to maneuver around. The regional matrix and global game of politics, it can afford its shortchanging commitments to democracy. The United States has also the potential to fight few more wars against terrorism apart from the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The widening divide between Arabs and Iran would not be damaging US interests. However, Pakistan is not in position to manage any one of the scenarios described above. We have to carefully opt for the policy of non-interference in the Middle East. We are already fighting a war against terrorism within the country; hence we cannot afford to fight another war abroad. Pakistan has to maintain a balance between Arabs and Iran on all political and diplomatic fronts. Peaceful coexistence with Afghanistan in the west and over-ambitious India on the east is more than enough for Pakistan to test its political, diplomatic and strategic capabilities. In the long run, Pakistan has to lessen its economic interdependence to take a balanced position at regional and global political affairs.