Suspension of US Aid to Pakistan; Macro-Scale Regional Consequences

Dr. Tayebeh Vaezi

The US State Department has officially announced the suspension of the entire United States aid to Pakistan. The decision, which has been adopted after more than a year of threats and warnings to Pakistan on its double standard behavior in the field of terrorism, will have important implications for the region, which are important due to the geopolitical rivalries in the region between China, the United States, Russia, India, Pakistan and even Iran.
due to its special regional situation, Pakistan has always been one of the important targets of the United States foreign policy for the past seven decades. More than two third of all US aid to Pakistan is related to the post-2001. As of 2011 and with the outbreak of challenges in the Washington-Islamabad ties, the amount of aid received by Pakistan from the US has fallen. Trump has now suspended military aid to Pakistan by accusing Pakistan of pursuing double-standard policies.
The most important reasons for a new US approach toward Pakistan can be found in three factors: competing with China, strategic partnership with India, and Pakistan’s double-standard policy vis-à-vis terrorism.
Pakistan will have to comply with the demands of the United States for military and economic reasons; however, as in the past, this compliance may be incomplete and carried out with deception. For example, the issue of collusion with terrorist networks in order to reduce short-term attacks or the arrest of low-level leaders of these groups can be mentioned.
While Pakistan’s use of the leverage of Afghanistan’s transit route, cannot be completely ruled out but it is not in coordination with Pakistan’s political rationality to prevent more US anger. Along with the growing insecurity and the spread of conflict between India and Pakistan, a shift in negotiating blocks in the United States with the Taliban is expected. The adoption of an inclusive and comprehensive diplomacy by the central government of Afghanistan can be effective in reducing the negative effects of this event.
Pakistan’s more proximity to China and Russia and the formation of their triple power bloc against the US-Afghanistan and India bloc is a possible scenario. In the meantime, Iran is a missing link that can more or less co-operate with both blocs. It should be noted that these coalitions are relative ones and it is possible for the countries of both groups to co-operate on the matters beyond South Asia.
Pakistan’s change of behavior in practice seems to require a new approach based on culture-building, the spread of democracy and economic reform in Pakistan, so that people increase Pakistan’s costs in its support for terrorism.

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