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Trump's Palmerstonian Policy

Michael Barone on

This is the role Trump seems to have come to embrace, against his own inclinations, and in the process he is not above muscling other nations into behaving themselves.

He is refraining from demanding democracy from Afghan leaders but is advising them to avoid America's displeasure. Perhaps more significantly, he is leaning hard against Pakistan and the military that tends to control it. "We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations," he said.

Trump added that he is prepared to call in India "to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development."

Pakistan's military leaders, as former Ambassador of Pakistan to the U.S. Husain Haqqani writes in his book "Magnificent Delusions," have always regarded India as their chief enemy and the United States as a tool they can manipulate. Trump seems to be telling them that that game is over.

Just as a reminder, he noted, "I have made clear that our allies and partners must contribute much more money to our collective defense. And they have done so."

The 3rd Viscount Palmerston, who was a British prime minister in the 1850s and 1860s, said his nation had no permanent allies or enemies but did have permanent interests. Trump, who may never have heard of Lord Palmerston, seems to have decided that our interests no longer coincide with those of Pakistan's military.

Palmerstonian policies enjoyed political support and served Britain and the world well for many years. Will Trump's policies do so well?

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News and World Report. Distibuted by Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

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