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President Trump declines. In a sit-down informal press conference, with the Prime Minister of Pakistan mostly off camera, President Trump answered a series of questions, mostly by foreign journalists, on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Consider his comments as part of a larger information campaign, or public diplomacy, with both leaders and citizens of countries in the region, especially Iran.
President Trump repeatedly referred to military plans that would result in total military victory through total destruction in a week to ten days. The Afghan civilian casualties would be around ten million. President Trump said that was completely morally unacceptable. These comments can be understood to work with his earlier comments about Iranian civilian lives, again sending the message that he cares more for the man and woman on the street than their unaccountable, unelected leaders.
No president was ever going to get authorization to mount an extermination campaign against a poor people without the advanced technology and expressed political will to credibly attempt our destruction. Whatever the occasional dopamine hit gained from pundits pushing the “make the rubble bounce” button, we have not been in that position since Nazi Germany and Tojo’s Japan mounted credible total war against us. Even then, “kill them all” and “[County X] delenda est” were not on the menu.
Accordingly, President Trump is trying carrots with the newest Pakistani civilian leader. He praised him, talked about economic potential, and invited constructive partnership with Pakistan. President Trump knows that there has been a semi-independent security force in Pakistan, a combined domestic and foreign intelligence service, operating in what it understands as the national interest. This organization, the Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), with paramilitary capabilities, is independent of the regular Pakistani military.
Unlike the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the ISI is not the servant of the real government. Instead, it can be a source of threat to civilian or military leaders of government, if the ISI sees their vision of the national interest threatened. Like the IRGC, the ISI operates through foreign terrorist and paramilitary groups to influence policy in neighboring countries.
Now, President Trump has put in the open, although indirectly, the sort of threat that Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage allegedly delivered to Pakistani leaders in the days after the terrorist attacks on our soil September 11, 2001.
“The intelligence director told me that (Mr Armitage) said, ‘Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the stone age’,” Gen Musharraf was quoted as saying. The revelation that the US used extreme pressure to secure Pakistan’s cooperation in the war on terror arrived at a time of renewed unease in the US about its frontline ally.
If President Trump has seen military plans to wipe Afghanistan off the map, then surely he has seen the same for their terrorist harboring nuclear neighbor, our good friend Pakistan. But there are so much more reasonable solutions, and the new leader of Pakistan isn’t to blame, any more than the current administration is for past presidents’ mistakes. Everyone gets a fresh chance to…Be Best!
Neither national leader at this press availability was naive as to the complicated and perilous nature of internal and regional politics. Yet, President Trump showed that a nuclear power, with Islam as its official state religion, is not necessarily antithetical to our national security, or that of the region. Pakistan has always expressed its nuclear posture as one of national self-determination, ultimately preventing its subjugation by bigger neighbors. Contrast this to the political ayatollahs running Iran, describing their nuclear program in conjunction with their expansionist, and eliminationist, foreign policy goals. This press conference communicates multiple messages to multiple audiences.
The audiences include U.S. domestic viewers. Note that President Trump was respectful of a much darker skinned foreign leader, a leader who happens to be Muslim. Further, the lives President Trump values too highly to consider wiping out, are fellow human beings with skin tones in the range of the “AOC plus three.” Of course, President Trump hammered away, in this news conference, on the great good news for African-American employment. Images and words come together to counter the endless “racism” charges by the radical left and TruCon grifters.