After months of dilly-dallying, President Donald Trump has finally announced his policy on South Asia and Afghanistan. His address mentioned three countries including Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan.

In a surprise shift from his earlier commitments that the US would have nothing to do with the war in Afghanistan, he is increasing the number of troops on Afghan soil. The current American military leadership sees a force increase as the only way to break the stalemate in Afghanistan. However, even when the highest concentration of the American troops was present in Afghanistan, Taliban could not be curtailed, which makes wonder what the US plans to do different this time.

The second country that Trump mentioned in his speech was Pakistan. Like all other American presidents who oversaw the Afghan conflict, he holds Pakistan responsible for American failure on Afghan soil. Allegations of this kind against Pakistan are not new. But the particular problem with the current President is his unpredictability and his penchant to use hate politics effectively; the Congress has already turned against Pakistan and now, so too has the White House. Can Pakistan really be an important US ally for much longer? While an olive branch was offered by complimenting Pakistan’s efforts in countering terrorism, the message of ‘do more’ was clearer and stronger than ever before.

The last country from South Asia mentioned in President Trump’s address was India. Trump not only vowed to enhance business partnership with India in his speech, but he also welcomed India to assist America in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The whole purpose of that part of the address was to ensure India’s place as the regional hegemon. With this decision, Pakistan should understand that its interests lie in regional partnerships – despite repeated overtures to both the US and India, their stance towards has not changed which is why making new alliances is important.

Mr Trump’s speech, which appealed the allies of US to follow suit by sending more troops to the Afghan battleground, fails to mention the failure of governance in Afghanistan. The president has not for a moment considered the charges of rampant corruption against American forces. Reports after reports have surfaced that recorded the worst kind of American excesses against the people of Afghanistan in virtually every walk of life. And yet Pakistan is painted as the villain.

With the President’s speech, the White House has now espoused the most hawkish view of Pakistan that the world has seen so far. Pakistan is not likely to find many friends in the current administration, and while putting ourselves at odds with the US is not wise, Pakistan needs to look towards its own interests and protect them by forging lasting economic relationships with the regional powers of Russia and China.