The US is reducing military aid to Pakistan by $255 million, not eliminating aid entirely despite Trump’s loud-mouthing. It’s a disputed question how much aid the US has actually given to Pakistan because some is direct military aid ($15 billion since 9/11/2001) & billions are in the amorphous category of “non-military” aid which gets funneled through NGOs & USAID which uses it to bribe officials, maintain a spy network, maintain torture centers, & for other such vile purposes. It’s a very familiar process from Afghanistan & Iraq.

Trump’s reduction in military aid does not represent a dramatic “Trumpian” shift in US policy toward Pakistan since under Carter in the 1970s & old man Bush in the 1990s aid was suspended temporarily because of Pakistan’s nuclear program. The greatest reductions have been under Obama starting in 2010 when total aid went from $4.5 billion a year to 2016 when it declined to $794 million. It still remains one of the biggest recipients of US military aid along with Israel, Egypt, Jordan, & Iraq.

It’s not entirely clear what the US is up to regarding Pakistan since it plays a vital role as a US ally in the Afghanistan War. But it also appears Pakistan plays both sides of the street in its association with the Taliban. Pakistan is not often discussed fully enough though it is clearly an important player in Middle East & South Asian politics. This military aid dispute going on between the US & Pakistan is an occasion to examine conflicts & developments in the political relationship between the two countries since it is of considerable importance to Afghans, Kashmiris, Pakistanis & to democratic struggles in the Middle East & South Asia.