As the year 2017 ended and a new year rose above the horizon of this polarised world, many in Pakistan were hoping to start the new year with news that raised hope and united everyone. Only the latter was achieved when unanimous echoes of betrayal were heard inside the nation as President Trump tweeted, “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” 

This isn’t the first time the USA has stabbed Pakistan in the back and probably not the last one either. The term “most strategic ally during the Cold war and war against terror” will not heal those wounds. The United States has a well documented history of reversing their relationships with other nations, and betrayal is most common among them whenever it best fits the interests of the United States. No nation has had that much influence over the geopolitical events of the world since colonial Great Britain. The irony is that United States declared it’s independence from Great Britain and was its most grievous adversary. After two world wars, Great Britain is now seen as America’s genuine ally, which wholeheartedly demonstrated its loyalty in the disastrous Iraq invasion.

 Many nations gave their loyalties to this superpower, only to have that ally turn against them. When China got independence in 1949 and survived a bloody civil war, The US refused to recognise it and provided aid and arms to Taiwan to resist the evil Communist power. The Taiwan-USA partnership turned toxic when in a surprise press conference in 1978, President Jimmy Carter announced that it would recognise the Peoples Republic of China and sever its ties with Taiwan. Many in Taiwan saw treachery while many in Washington saw it as an opportunity to toy with the USSR over arms and defence agreements as the Cold War approached its final years.

When Iraq went to war with its neighbour Iran in 1980, the United States used the war to seek revenge over Iran for overthrowing their puppet dictator in 1979 who was installed by America’s most controversial agency in its intelligence arsenal. By sharing intelligence and secretly selling arms to Iraq, the US hoped to turn the tide against Iran. Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein sought the use of a deadly WW1 weapon, the gassing of enemy soldiers and civilians. Officials in the US had prior knowledge of it but in the name of “freedom”, Ronald Reagan denied it with his former acting skills. That same aid and arms turned Iraq into a nation which had the audacity and the capability to invade Kuwait, thus sparking the first Gulf War. 

After the tragic events of 9/11, the US looked for ways to scapegoat Iraq as they prepared themselves to go to extreme lengths to find justification for invasion, even if it required lying to the UN. In 2006, Saddam Hussein was hanged by the USA, his former backer. Killing a leader of an ex-ally was something the United States was accustomed to which the people of Vietnam have recollection of the time when USA pushed for Ngo Din Diem to be the future leader of South Vietnam. Yet his assassination had traces of America’s finger prints all over it and that had a profound effect on President John F Kennedy, whom the national security council staffer Michael Forrestal spoke of: 

 “It shook him personally ... bothered him as a moral and religious matter. It shook his confidence, I think, in the kind of advice he was getting about South Vietnam.” 

The same President had no “moral and religious” concern when he actively engaged in an adulterous lifestyle while at the same time juggling with Khrushchev’s “Do this or I’ll nuke you” threats. Perhaps the lesson Pakistan can learn from all this is that United States isn’t to be trusted, a lesson that should have been learnt about 30 years ago. China continues to be Pakistan’s trusted ally, but is it? Chinese leaders have flirted with the possibility of having their footprints on the entire Asian continent and the recent “one belt, one road” crusade appears to be part of that. Pakistan has to accept the fact that allying with a superpower only protects you militarily; otherwise they give you nothing in return but “lies and deceit”.  

The writer is student of Bloomfield Hall.