US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and a delegation of other officials landed in Pakistan, met our top civil-military leadership for a few hours, and jetted off again to their next destination – India.

Out of those few hours that the delegation spent in Pakistan came resolutions to work together and commitments of friendliness – apart from that, little else. In fact, even the friendliness seemed like standard diplomatic niceties. Tillerson repeated the mantra of the current US government; “Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country”, and after his departure Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif vented his frustration at the United States’ “unacceptable” stances – throwing in a health dose of indignant words like “sovereignty”, “equality” and “self-respect”.

It will suffice to say that the Tillerson trip did not go according to plan. Hoping for close relations with the US – at least as close as they were in the heyday of the War on Terror – was always a fool’s hope. Nonetheless the efforts to maintain constant contact and cordiality are always a worthy effort.

But things get far worse from here on out. In contrast to the meeting in Islamabad, the one in his next destination, Dehli, was much more successful. A closer US-India bond is a realty that almost all policy makers in Pakistan have accepted, but the extent to which the US is willing to parrot India’s line is especially problematic.

Not only did Tillerson repeat the “safe havens” stance with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, he explicitly stated the one policy stance that is anathema to Pakistan-US relations. In his words; India is crucial to USA-Afghanistan strategy, a “natural ally” and that the US back India as a leader in the region. The enduring silence on Kashmir – a few days before November 27, the day commemorated as a black day by Kashmiris – should lay any doubts on the US regional position to their well-deserved rest.

So the first major engagement with the new US administration, and the first major one after the newly announced Afghanistan redeployment, can only be classified as a failure. Pakistan did not make any headway in bilateral cooperation, and its red lines with respect to India, Afghnistan and Kashmir were crossed without much ado.

With bilateral Afghanistan diplomacy also snagging on the issue of trade and trucking routes, our foreign policy seems to be running headlong into a brick wall. The silver lining in Tillerson’s brief visit is the clarity that it should give to the Pakistani leadership on its way forward. It must face the harsh reality, and plan accordingly – diligently.