The confession of the US State Department that Trump’s administration failed to achieve what it wanted to by suspending military aid to Pakistan is a testimony to the axiom of international politics that “every nation secures its interests first. While the disagreement on how to bring peace in Afghanistan is not an interstate dispute that comes under international law, however, the US government chose to solve according to the practice of international law: imposing sanctions against Pakistan. The sanctions never create a win-win situation for the parties. Instead, it creates a stalemate in relations.

The military aid –around $900 million– to Pakistan was suspended shortly after President Trump’s New Year accusing Pakistan of lies and deceits. The most vocal advocate of suspending military assistance to Pakistan, Senator Robert Corker while defending Trump’s move was unable to answer in affirmative when asked by Senator Ben Cardin if the suspension had brought any change in Pakistan’s behaviour.

While Washington has suspended the military aid, its resumption is subject to actions and evidence of such activities that Pakistan takes to protect the American interests in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, it has become clear that until and unless Washington treats Islamabad as equal, Islamabad has no reason to support the American adventurism in Afghanistan. The American approach of not understanding Pakistan’s reservations and limitations is the real hurdle in achieving the shared objective of both the countries, i.e., bringing peace to Afghanistan. While some of the officials do acknowledge the fact that the USA cannot succeed in achieving its goals in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s role, yet they make such demands from Islamabad that make it impossible any real cooperation at all.

Moreover, the statement read out during the hearing while stating the possibility of resuming the military aid given Pakistan took effective steps against all terror groups, also included new conditions related to Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities and programs. The new conditions are aimed at restricting Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs and Islamabad’s non-proliferation policies with those of the US. While the latter part is comprehensible, the former one is not. When every other nuclear state is enhancing their nuclear and missile programs why is Pakistan targeted? Is it also a tactic to exert more pressure on Pakistan to do more? Or the Trump administration has fallen prey to the propaganda of those who label Pakistan’s nuclear weapons as Islamic?

Probably, the confession will not bring a shift in the policies of Trump’s administration in South Asia. Especially, the new conditions on Pakistan’s nuclear program will make hardly any space for bilateral cooperation.