The Trump Administration is withholding 255 million dollars in economic and military assistance slated for Pakistan. Mr. Trump accuses Pakistan, once considered a partner in the War on Terror, of providing aid to/and harboring terrorists.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” Trump tweeted on 31 December.
Since September 2000, the United States has given Pakistan more than 34 billion dollars in economic assistance. Despite this aid, Pakistan continues to support the Taliban and other jihadist groups operating in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the 9-11 terror attacks, was hiding in Pakistan when he was killed.
At best, Pakistan is an unsure ally. Pakistan’s foreign policy revolves around India, a regional rival and economic powerhouse. Islamabad plays the United States against China to gain leverage against India. If Afghanistan becomes a stable government and develops economic ties with India, it could change the region’s delicate balance of power.
The US is better served supporting India and isolating Pakistan. Pakistan will never support the development of a strong/stable Afghanistan. No amount of foreign aid or diplomatic coercion changes that. The Chinese will try to fill the void , but Islamabad will soon discover China is an expensive and problematic ally.
On 14 February 2017, the Brazilian Navy announced the São Paulo, the country’s only aircraft carrier, was to be decommissioned. In 2014, the Navy announced plans to modernize the carrier, but those plans proved impractical and too costly. The São Paulo’s decommissioning means the United States is now the only naval power in the Americas capable of fielding an aircraft carrier.
Originally commissioned in 1963, the São Paulo began life as the Foch, a French aircraft carrier. Brazil purchased the São Paulo in 2000 to replace the Minas Gerais, a former 1940s-era carrier acquired from Britain in 1960.
Brazil’s mothballing of her only carrier doesn’t change the balance of power in the Americas. The United States currently operates 19 carriers, all more modern than the São Paulo. Since Brazil isn’t threatened by any regional naval powers, there isn’t an urgent need to project naval air power.
Despite no current pressing needs, the Brazilian Navy is looking to acquire two new carriers within the next ten years. However, the navy’s primary focus is creating a nuclear submarine program, and the expanded construction of Tamandaré corvettes. Both programs combined, cost less than it would to again update the fifty-seven year old São Paulo.
So until then, the United States will have the coolest toy boats in the Western Hemisphere.
Frontier Services Group (FSG) chairman Erik Prince is offering military style training to private Chinese security forces. The idea is to rain retired Chinese soldiers to protect China’s global corporate interests. According to FSG, their training would “help non-military personnel provide close protection security, without the use of arms.” And if arms aren’t involved, FSG doesn’t break American law prohibiting export of military services or equipment to China.
If Erik Prince’s name sounds familiar, it should. He is the founder of Blackwater, a private military contracting company synonymous with the Iraq War. From 1997 to 2010, Blackwater made 2 billion dollars in government contracts. Blackwater contractors were charged with gun running and murder. He is also the brother of now Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
First of all, why would you offer an “unarmed” protection service? And why would China want those services? And how will those skills be used? And why would an American firm provide training for an economic and military rival? Unless firearms training is included, this training is useless.
China is experiencing rapid economic expansion in Africa. That expansion needs protection, and not the unarmed kind. China’s military can’t protect those assets, but a cadre of trained contractors/mercenaries can. These contractors/mercenaries wouldn’t be answerable That cadre can also be used against American interests.
A politically well-connected entrepreneur collaborating with a country that has a terrible human rights record to training mercenaries. What can go wrong