President-elect Mr Donald Trump may be an unpredictable man, but the US-Pakistan relations are by no means unpredictable. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi can be optimistic and wish for “strengthened” bilateral relations in the future, but all arrows point to a continuation of a “complicated” relationship, as noted by the White House spokesman, Josh Earnest last week.

Pakistan has had eight years to adjust to a new normal; President Obama never visited owing to the fact that ties could not remain smooth persistently, aid has been declining steadily. Pakistan’s sovereignty was breached on the pretext of killing old enemies, Pakistani soldiers were killed at the Pak-Afghan border and it took years of coaxing from our diplomats, for them to issue an apology, and that too begrudgingly.

Pakistan’s nervousness regarding Mr Trump stems from his comments in the past regarding the country, specifically when he talked to CNN in Wisconsin about the cocktail of radical Islamist terrorism and nuclear weaponry that is brewing in Pakistan, or his assertion in an American radio show last September that Pakistan is the world’s most dangerous country and the US needs to work very closely with India to check it. However, that queasiness was momentarily set aside after details of a very optimistic phone call conversation Mr Trump had with our premier, emerged. As soon as Mr. Trump’s critics used Pakistan’s readout on the telephonic conversations to slam him on his “poor foreign policy” judgement, the Trump administration backtracked, leaving Pakistan in the cold once again.

Hillary Clinton’s presidency would have ensured a continuity of Barack Obama’s policies, and that has gotten us nowhere with the US. Considering once again that Mr Trump is marvellously unpredictable, there may be a sliver of hope that US-Pak relations have the possibility of a fresh start. But the biggest impediment to that happening is our utter lack of foreign policy and inadequate diplomacy.

Pakistan’s A-team is a combination of GHQ officials, the Prime Minister, his advisers and retired foreign office bureaucrats on contract. Our diplomats come off as too optimistic and hence too naïve, unable to compete in a game that is dirty and demanding. Yes, China may be the only ally Pakistan needs, but having a workable relationship with the US is very important if it has any hopes of resolving the outstanding issue of Kashmir with a very hostile India.