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07 January 2018


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Whatever was in Trump mind,Pakistan reacted fast. https://orientalreview.org/2018/01/05/pakistans-asymmetrical-response-trump-clever-way-flip-tables-afghanistan/

The Twisted Genius


I didn't see that one coming. What's that line? "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East."

FB Ali

It seems Pakistan was waiting for an excuse to chuck the unfortunate Afghan refugees out. Trump seems to have provided them with that.

Whether Pakistan closes the air and ground route for the US into Afghanistan will not matter if a lot of the Afghans pushed into Afghanistan join the Taliban, as is quite likely. The Taliban will force US troops out of Afghanistan.


When we took our kids on holiday (1996) to the island where DJT’s mother grew up in the 1920s, I didn’t get the impression that there were too many dullards around. The second, slightly Dr Evil, interpretation of the POTUS’s foreign policy moves, rings true to me.

Not what I say, what I do...

blue peacock
"...he's trying to force them into closing off our access to Afghanistan so we have no choice but to leave....


I interpret his actions as causing sufficient angst and mayhem that we are forced out of Afghanistan and that part of Asia. It seems to be the pattern as I see it. Similarly, with his Jerusalem decision he has sunk the two state fiction and shown the Arabs for their lip service to the Palestinian cause.

Pakistan & China have been building their relationship and related infrastructure projects for decades. Not sure but the Gwadar project must have launched at least 20 years ago. The Karakoram highway has been built some time back. They've also been partners on missile and possibly nuclear technology. So this relationship is nothing new. What is new is Trump throwing a spanner!

I hope Pakistan plays its part and winds down access to CENTCOM. After 16 years, maybe the longest war we have fought, it is time to end it. If the Taliban are the strongest force they will run the place as they did before. Let Pakistan & China have Afghanistan. They are neighbors after all.

Fellow Traveler

I don't see Kelly standing for abandoning Afghanistan. When asked at his leaving Southern Command "What do Gold Star Families want?":

"They don't ask for anything, as I say. I think the one thing they would ask is that the cause for which their son or daughter fell be -- be carried through to -- to a successful end, whatever that means, as opposed to "this is getting too costly," or "too much of a pain in the ass," and "let's just walk away from it." Because that's when they start thinking it might have been not worth it."


blue peacock,
I hope Pakistan plays its part and winds down access to CENTCOM. After 16 years, maybe the longest war we have fought, it is time to end it. If the Taliban are the strongest force they will run the place as they did before. Let Pakistan & China have Afghanistan. They are neighbors after all.

They also even speak the same language as many of the folks in Afghanistan and, unlike the US, they know a lot more about local tribes, culture and habits and wouldn't be as dependent on translators, or translator tools. To get the idea ... (not quite oddly, that tool was written in Virginia).


As for Pakistan being neighbor to Afghanistan, well, the question is to what extent they are a good neighbour. Pakistan has its own interests, and one of these would be to 'keep India out of Pakistan's backyard' and 'not to be encircled'.

Thus, likely the Pakistanis, short of Trumps "direct directed rumble/tweets", are likely unhappy about Trump's closing with India about Islamist terror in the region.


India at their part isn't at all happy about that Islamist terrorism in the region since they routinely get attacked by them, and their Islamist terrorists in the region come from ... well, often at least, Pakistan.


That written, there is a chance that this would mean for Afghanistan another round of surrogate war, this time Pakistan's surrogates against India's. There likely weould be more 'Mumbai's'.

In that case, Afghan's interests, properties or lives would be once again be seen a parts of the 'wager of foreigners. In any case, such a development would be ugliy for all the neighbours - the Afghans, India and Pakistan.

If the US get out, good for them, but it wouldn't mean at all that 'the afghan problem is solved'.


Remember that General Kelly is himself a Gold Star Father. His son was KIA in Afghanistan 2010. The sorrow of war is not theoretical for him.

Peter AU

Two minds is the place to be. Iran, I think will be the decider.


TTG - It would be a welcome tonic if Trump was being "diabolically clever". However, I suspect its just a continuation of the general incoherence of US FP in so many theatres.


The second option may arrive, but not because of any plan, rather due to the lack of one. Don't ask anyone who has trouble with tic-tac-toe to play chess.

Account Deleted

As you earlier said TTG, maybe Trump's genius lies in pissing people off so much they do his work for him - assuming this work is disentanglement, as described by Patrick Armstrong. This tweet and its timing, in particular seem just too bad to be true. The article @Jean posted on the Pakistani response follows the usual media line that Trump's action was at best rash and he will regret the 'unforeseen' consequences. Others in MSM will no doubt follow in the same vein. But, as others here have observed, it seems a pattern is emerging.

What's next - diplomatic recognition of Rojava to 'inadvertantly' piss off the Turks so much he brings about a crisis in another one of this targets; NATO?

What is needed to backup this theory is examples of his using such tactics in his former business life. It is hard to imagine one only learns diabolically clever 'crazy' fox-like behaviour this late in life. I haven't so far been able to bring myself to read 'Art of the Deal', but I may now do so - purely as a research project.

Should this theory prove to be true, it strikes me that it is also diabolically brave - or foolhardy. If former MI professionals in this place are starting to notice this, surely the ones currently serving have too. If/when the Borg rumble the con, Trump will be go from frustrating buffoon to public enemy number 1.



Can't play tic tac toe? Do you have a link to that evidence? pl



A lot of our troubles in FP stems from our collective delusion of central position and our desire to believe that people want to be dominated by our city on a hill. pl

The Twisted Genius

JohnB and Lars,

I'm also inclined to believe this is more a continuation of an incoherent policy rather than a clever plan. Either way, the result will be the same. I'm adding another article to my suggested reading list. Andrew Korybko is the same author that wrote about Islamabad responding to Trump's aggressive policy with a weapon of mass migration. He wrote the below article a month ago and suggests, to me, that our best course of action is to plan and execute an organized withdrawal ASAP. Any additional attempt at cleverness will only ensure disaster.



TTG: Truly fascinating that we have Blanche DuBois's foreign policy...we are ever reliant on the kindness of strangers.

If Afghanistan collapses, how does that help Pakistan?


Hope this isn't off-topic, but I thought it was an interesting explanation for the change in the US position towards Pakistan. I think he's barking up the wrong tree, but I did learn something about the Chinese challenge to the dollar.



All in my Humble Opinion. DJT is serious about MAGA, he sees the resources being used as World Policeman as essentially wasted and his ambition is to redirect them to the American Homeland. It’s existential to sustaining America’s role as World Policeman that the dollar remains the worlds global currency. Given the serious effort being put into undermining the role of the dollar as ThE global currency the US has a choice to fight or adapt, if the choice is to fight then it is,doubtful the American Homeland would escape without suffering some of the ravages of war. Adaptation requires the reassessment of America’s role of Global Policeman with its open ended commitments to every dogfight anywhere. I see it as a realighnment of American Power not its abrogation. Speaker Tom Reed R Maine would recognise the argument.

JT McPhee

So is it just a matter of finding the right shade of lipstick to apply to the pig? Good money and troops after “bad?”

JT McPhee

And that personal sorrow is then the rationale for all the “policy” to follow? So more Gold Stars can be “awarded” to more families? More little cortèges making their way from Joint Base MacDill to those graveyards nearby, to keep the population on-side? http://www.tbo.com/brandon/supporters-line-procession-route-of-fallen-marine-36080


...and they would be correct.

blue peacock
It’s existential to sustaining America’s role as World Policeman that the dollar remains the worlds global currency.


Please do yourself a favor and do some serious research on the pros & cons of a reserve currency. Not just reading some internet "expert" with all kinds of conspiracy theories about the petrodollar & reserve currency status.

"Global Policeman" is a military function.

blue peacock
...the Chinese challenge to the dollar.

We'll know that the Chinese are serious about challenging the US dollar when they make their currency fully convertible. Until then it is just hype. MK Bhadrakumar should stick to political and military analysis and leave finance alone, or he will show his ignorance as he has with this analysis.


People underestimate the complexity of New York real estate deals at the scale at which the Donald has operated. My money is on brave & foolhardy! That pretty much describes a New York developer, or at least one who is still a New York developer after a couple of business cycles. Attrition is pretty high.

Personally I don't like our president much, and I'm pretty opposed to what he's doing as a domestic oligarch, but I believe he is implementing the policies he ran on: beyond Fellow Travelers' Kelly quote about what "Gold Star Families" want, it was the Obama voters in counties most affected by our disastrous wars who flipped to Trump that gave him the White House. Those people already know our wars aren't worth the cost. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2989040


Global Policeman" is a military function.
Indeed it is and has to be paid for and is currently paid for in US$’s. Do you have a useful reference for me so I can read up and understand the pros and cons of a reserve currency status. The GBP Sterling had that role once up a time but went and lost it to the US$? I think it was the Spanish dollar before that.

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