Najam Interviewed on Trump’s Afghanistan Policy

Trump Afghanistan War

Adil Najam, Dean of the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, was interviewed by several media outlets on the implications of U.S. President Donald Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy (announced on August 21, 2017 at Myer in Arlington, Virginia), especially in terms of its possible consequences on US-Pakistan relations.

On August 21, Najam was part of the team of experts providing live commentary on the announcement on Pakistan’s largest TV news network, Geo News TV. Najam was part of a panel of experts that included leading journalists and scholars of Pakistan and Afghanistan policy.

On August 24, he was interviewed on the news talkshow “Faisla Aap Ka” (Your Decision) on AajTV (watch video here).

trump Afghanistan Policy NajamOn August 25, Najam appeared as a guest in the Voice of America Urdu Service TV show View360 to discuss the implications of regional stability in South Asia, including on how it could trigger moves by Russia and China to alter the regional balance of alliances (watch video here).

Also on August 25, he was a guest on the news talkshow “Do Raaye” (Two Opinions) on DawnTV to discuss the possible strategic responses to the new policy from Pakistan as well as other regional actors in and around South Asia (watch video here).

In these various conversations, Najam suggested that at one level there was fairly little that was new in what President Trump announced in his approach to Afghanistan. Most elements are ones that had already been decided by President Obama, although formalizing the de facto position of continuing military presence in Afghanistan is an important announcement.

However, the tone and tenor of the speech was unprecedented and could have long-term impacts in South Asia. In particular, Najam argued, it signals that President Trump has abandoned the long-held US position of trying to be a force for stability in South Asia. Instead, he has signaled a new and dangerous strategy of playing neighbor against neighbor in an already volatile region.

Najam pointed out that US-Pakistan relations have been in a terrible state for a long time, but after this speech from the US President’s the chances of any improvement have further diminished. He pointed out that the US is likely to increase pressure on Pakistan, including by reducing or ceasing military assistance to Pakistan.

Adil Najam is the inaugural dean of the Pardee School and is the former Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan.