The recent statements by President Donald Trump have been highly offensive towards Pakistan and have deliberately signaled out Pakistan for supporting terror in Afghanistan.
These comments have caused Pakistani leaders to respond with outrage. The public response has been just as strong and numerous Pakistanis have said that Trump’s comments showed that he was unaware of the ground realities in Afghanistan.
Many experts have agreed that Trump’s comments could signal a shift in American foreign policy and lead to a hardening stance against Pakistan.
Such a stance would entail
1. Increased drone strikes in tribal areas,
2. Cross border surgical strikes,
3.Cutting down of military aid
4.Downgrading Pakistan’s status as a major non NATO ally
5.Declare Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism
6. Naming Pakistani officials terrorists.
7. Nuclear related sanctions
8. Economic Sanctions
However, a short look at the geopolitical situation would show that Pakistan is far from powerless in resisting US pressure.
For starters Pakistan can retaliate to these measures by shutting off the American military supply chain to Afghanistan. This would greatly increase the cost of the US war effort as the only other viable supply routes are through Russia and Iran, two countries with whom America has a far worse relationship than with Pakistan.
Another retaliatory measure that Pakistan could adopt would be to close down the entire Afghan border. Such an act would put economic pressure on landlocked Afghanistan and indirectly on the US.
If Pakistan really wanted it to hurt it could also speed up the process of relocating Afghan living illegally in Pakistan. As a last resort Pakistan could cease intelligence sharing with the United States and cut off diplomatic ties.