President Trump Begins Familiar Strategic Process – Pakistan Assigned Ownership of Afghanistan Extremism…

A very familiar pattern is emerging as President Trump turns his attention toward solving the ongoing issues within Afghanistan. A very uniquely Trumpian geopolitical strategy based on assigned ownership, economics and self-interest.

Last night as President Trump addressed the nation to discuss the ongoing conflict within Afghanistan he took the first step: Trump assigned strategic ownership to Pakistan:

[…] “The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach in how to deal with Pakistan. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.

“Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists. In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner. Our militaries have worked together against common enemies.

“The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism. We recognize those contributions and those sacrifices, but Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time they are housing the same terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change. And that will change immediately.

“No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace. (transcript link)

If anything President Trump stated was not the brutal reality the placement of strategic ownership would not work.  However, the entire international community knows that Pakistan, including their intelligence service ISI, has a great deal of hidden sympathy toward Islamic extremists within Afghanistan.

Never was that reality more stark than when the international community realized that 9/11 terrorist Osama Bin Laden held refuge inside Pakistan for almost a decade.  Within the governing systems inside Pakistan there is a large contingent of Taliban sympathy.  This reality has been the 800lb gorilla amid public discussions of international national security for several years.

Last night President Trump called it out, publicly.

This is where those who follow Trump closely will note a familiar pattern emerging.

The Taliban in Afghanistan are to Pakistan, as the DPRK is to China.

Remember, the solution to the threat that is Kim Jong-un was to assign direct responsibility toward Beijing.  In a similar approach, the solution toward eliminating the threat of extremist violence from the Taliban is to assign direct responsibility toward Pakistan.  President Trump began that process last night.

However, those who have followed closely will note there’s additional references.

♦When the threat is Sunni Extremism, the problem was/is the Muslim Brotherhood and the enabling of Qatar.  Trump assigned responsibility for solving that issue to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council.   It is the GCC who are confronting Qatar, not the United States.

♦When the threat is Syria’s chemical weapon, the problem was/is the Assad regime and ISIS.  Trump assigned responsibility for solving that issue to Russia; Russia initially refused to solve it, so Trump bombed the shit out of Assad – Russia/Assad took ownership, the chemical weapon use stopped; further action was not needed by the United States.

♦When the threat is DPRK’s nuclear weapons, the problem was/is Kim Jong-un and the enabling China.  Trump assigned responsibility for solving that immediate threat to China.  It was Beijing who told Kim Jong-un to stand down.  Not the United States.

See the pattern?  In each example President Trump assigns responsibility.  However, the important element is the underlying ownership must be based entirely on truth.  In each of the examples the truth was/is that Gulf States/Qatar, Assad/Russia, and China/Beijing were manipulating and enabling the problem behavior.  By calling out that truth, each enabler was forced to take ownership and corrective action.

The same approach extends here with Afghanistan.  However, the solution is not Pakistan eliminating the Taliban per se’; the solution lies in leveraging Pakistan to force the Taliban into negotiations with the legitimate Afghan government.   Like the previous examples of Saudi Arabia and China, Trump has now assigned ownership of this objective to Pakistan.

The U.S. Military can/will engage the Taliban and Pakistan is on notice it better not act to enable the extremists.  Cliff Notes:

Additionally, this approach only works if there’s leverage to cajole Pakistan to act. Fortunately creating “leverage” is almost a uniquely Trumpian life-skill.  Throughout Trump’s business career he’s been a master at leverage.  Now with control of the largest economy and market in the world, he’s got massive economic leverage to generate beneficial national security outcomes.

Saudi Arabia was leveraged by U.S. economics and our commitments to their national security.  China was/is being leveraged by U.S. economics and their need to keep access to our markets.  So what approach will POTUS Trump use for Pakistan, yep – economics. It’s right there:

[…] “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars, at the same time they are housing the same terrorists that we are fighting.”…

Who is Pakistan’s biggest regional adversary?  India.

[…] “Another critical part of the South Asia strategy or America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India, the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic harbor of the United States.

“We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development.” (transcript)

President Trump is smartly focusing on alliances with open democracies in regions where the greatest mutual economic benefits are possible.

♦For the North Korean problem, Japan, South-Korea and India are all economically leveraged against China by President Trump via favorable trade and market access opportunities.

[Note that “bilateral” trade deals are essential in these efforts.]

♦For the Afghanistan problem, India again becomes the economic leverage against Pakistan.  China has a great deal of investment in Pakistan, and China also views India as an economic threat to their one-road/one-belt plans.

For those who are worried about expansive military endeavors that will result in death and quagmire I would advise to put your mind at ease.  The military is needed as the visible alternative to economic leverage, see North Korea. It is a reference; but military engagement unto itself is not the central tenet or fulcrum upon which the economic leverage is dependent.

The U.S. military is not the leverage, the military helps creates leverage. The leverage itself is economic.  Financial interests are always the best leverage to use because inherent within the fundamental principles of economics is ‘self-interest’.  Actions taken generate financial benefits; those benefits are direct and immediate to the interests of those generating the results.

From the policy and outlook of trade and U.S. economic engagement, obviously India’s Prime Minister Modi is a much more preferred ally.  Both China and Pakistan fully understand the dynamics of this mutually beneficial Trump/Modi relationship and what it can mean for their own economic self-interests.

Finally Afghanistan’s government appears fully aware of the approach.


So what can we anticipate as next steps?  Well if the familiar pattern repeats:

  • Look for Pakistan to attempt to avoid ownership.
  • Look for President Trump and Secretary Tillerson to keep pulling Pakistan into each discussion point when referencing Afghanistan.
  • Look for President Trump tweets aimed at creating and affirming the U.S. expectations of Pakistan.  Each time this happens the ownership gets stronger.
  • Look for our diplomatic team to talk about Pakistan helping to solve the problem.
  • Look for any affirming U.S. signals of warmth and friendship toward India.

These will all be indications of the ongoing strategy.  So far, this economic geopolitical approach has worked well with Syria/Russia, Qatar/Saudi Arabia and DPRK/China.  No reason not to be optimistic about Afghanistan (Taliban)/Pakistan.


This entry was posted in Big Stupid Government, China, Donald Trump, Economy, ISIS, Islam, Jihad, media bias, President Trump, Russia, Secretary of State, Secretary Tillerson, Syria, Trade Deal, Uncategorized, United Nations, USA. Bookmark the permalink.

402 Responses to President Trump Begins Familiar Strategic Process – Pakistan Assigned Ownership of Afghanistan Extremism…

  1. Howie says:

    iHeading to Bimini…..sooon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Howie says:

    All tv CaCaRooach.


  3. David R. Graham says:

    Excellent essay, Sundance. Thank!

    The speech really is about Pakistan, not Afghanistan. And about ROEs and non-nation-building. Just what was needed. All the right people are furious, an auspicious augury.

    Confirms my impression from that group photo coming out of Camp David huddle: Mattis looks like he ate the mouse and it tastes good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: President Trump addresses the nation on the War in Afghanistan and You Are Not Forgotten – New Trump Painting – Jon McNaughton | Jenny Hatch Blog

  5. augie says:

    One question: why are we in Afghanistan? Is there a one sentence answer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wink says:

      It’s an infested hell hole of terrorists who enjoy killing innocent people around the globe. Sorry, augie, it’s not a simple sentence but a complex sentence. But it is one sentence answer.

      Liked by 1 person

    • David R. Graham says:

      What Wink says plus this: Think opium, minerals, tourism and east-west commo link.

      Liked by 1 person

    • scott467 says:

      “One question: why are we in Afghanistan? Is there a one sentence answer?”




      • scott467 says:

        islam is ideological Ebola.

        Unfortunately, for the PC crowd of deniers, enablers and sympathizers (both amateurs and professionals), the first rule about islam is that you don’t talk about islam.

        They only talk about the death, destruction and misery (the visible symptoms) that islam (the mental disease) leaves in its wake, while pretending not to know the cause.

        They can only talk chase after the visible symptoms with band-aids shaped like dollars.

        They can ever acknowledge the mental disease (islam) that is causing all the death, misery and destruction.


    • Delilah says:

      It’s where the terrorists are.


    • Minerals, think “Rare-Earths”


  6. jstanley01 says:

    America needs to win in Afghanistan as a matter of salvaging some small scrap of our national honor. Of course, national honor is an alien concept to most people, right and left, because the entire concept of honor has gone extinct from Western culture. With the result that the vast majority of Americans today are dishonorable dolts, personally and professionally as well as politically.

    Thank God President Donald J. Trump appears to be an exception to the rule.

    Obama’s withdrawl from Iraq was America’s greatest strategic debacle since our self-imposed defeat in Vietnam was followed by the murder of untold millions Southeast Asia. With the abandonment of Iraq and the craven elimination of Gaddafi for no good reason, the United States managed to produce a power vacuum that was neatly filled by ISIS, which set the entire region ablaze and put millions of refugees on the move.

    Thank you Barak Hussein Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    Debate is fine and dandy. But once the sword is drawn, to sheathe it and turn away, and leave the enemy to take the field, is defeat BY DEFINITION. The United States has become all too used to losing, and the world is a more dangerous place because of it, even as George S. Patton is rolling over in his grave.

    Donald J. Trump had better win in Afghanistan, by God.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sunshine says:

    It won’t happen. The very high majority of their population is inbred, even their judicial system.


  8. MaineCoon says:

    Now there are enough interlocking pieces to the puzzle that the picture has become ascertainable thanks to Sundance.

    I think President Trump is brilliant. The decision to sent more troops was difficult. This will be intense. No holds barred. Pakistan will be tackled just as forcefully.

    This entire article made perfect sense because Sundance has educated me quite well. The final tweet by PT tells me this campaign will be no holds barred in order to achieve his objective – to leave Afghanistan.

    I support his decision. Short term tough love in order for long term benefits for USA and other nations.

    I firmly believe President Trump will go down in history as the greatest president — bar none.


  9. I wonder as this becomes the Trump foreign policy strategy will this enable the State Dept to be able to quietly negotiate behind the scenes without the need to be as loud and public. This might make our international relations smoother and easier negating the need for using the military as leverage.


  10. jeans2nd says:

    Serious question – do you not see a role for Russia in Afghanistan?

    11 Jan 2010, Russian Generals Boris Gromov and Dmitry Rrogozinjan, editorial, NY Times
    “Officials in Brussels and Washington who are thinking of a rapid exit strategy for the ISAF mission are engaged in elaborating on a suicide plan. Withdrawal without victory might cause a political collapse of Western security structures. This troubles Russia far less than the consequences for the region itself.”

    “…the Russian position. We are ready to help NATO implement its U.N. Security Council mandate in Afghanistan….

    “…We insist that NATO troops stay in the country until the necessary conditions are provided to establish stable local authorities capable of independently deterring radical forces and controlling the country. That is why we are helping NATO by providing transit for goods and training personnel for Afghanistan, including anti-narcotics officers.”

    The entire editorial is worth the read. Now factor in today’s Treasury sanctions against Russia, Magnitsky (grrr), and recent Congressional sanctions on Russia.

    Dunno. Odds are my question is way off.


  11. jeans2nd says:

    Oh my goodness.

    “For centuries in Afghanistan, when a rival force had come to power, the defeated one would put down their weapons and be integrated into the new power structure — obviously with much less power, or none at all. That’s how you do with neighbors you have to continue to live with…”

    “(When) the Taliban came to surrender (when Pres Bush invaded Afghanistan), the U.S. turned them down repeatedly, in a series of arrogant blunders spelled out in Anand Gopal’s investigative treatment of the Afghanistan war, “No Good Men Among the Living.””

    “the Taliban had stopped fighting, having either fled to Pakistan or melted back into civilian life. Al Qaeda, for its part, was down to a handful of members.”

    “Liberals then spent the 2008 presidential campaign complaining that the U.S. had “ignored” Afghanistan — when, in reality, the parts of the country without troop presence were the only parts at peace, facing no insurgency against the Afghan government…Then President Barack Obama came in and launched a surge in troop levels while simultaneously announcing a withdrawal”

    “After a few years of this charade, after their surrender efforts were repeatedly rebuffed, the old Taliban started picking up guns again.”

    Bitcoin on Pres Trump already knows this.
    you all did as well. didncha?
    Bitcoin on few, if any, more troops in Afghanistan.


  12. jameswlee2014 says:

    Just like identifying Muslim terrorists as Muslim terrorists, identifying Pakistan as the viral reservoir of the Taliban and indicating our willingness to destroy their bases there injects a dose of reality that will soon pay dividends. Well done, the President.


  13. Missing Andrew says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s