President Trump kicked off 2018 the only way he knows how: by threatening global security with a 'tweet' button. In the early hours of January 1st, he sounded off:
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
Iran is, of course, a familiar target for the President. While it's not unusual for a sitting US President to support the rights of protesters to voice their grievances in a foreign nation, as President Obama and Secretary Clinton did in 2009 during the Green Movement, it is unusual for a sitting US President to call on a foreign nation's citizens to turn against their regime outright. His vitriol directed towards Pakistan, is relatively new, though, according to an article published in The New York Times last Friday, the administration has been considering withholding $255 million in aid from the country.
Both of these nations have global nuclear significance. Of course, President Trump has threatened to toss out the Iran Nuclear Deal, which many foreign policy experts believe could set off a middle east arms race, and Pakistan, already a nuclear nation, is in danger of becoming so destabilized that its stockpiles end up in the hands of hostile non-state actors. Needless to say, these are not two nations that the United States should be looking to antagonize.
About an hour after President Trump's tweet, Pakistan's Foreign Minister responded, saying:
We will respond to President Trump's tweet shortly inshallah...Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts & fiction..— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) January 1, 2018
And he wasn't the only one. Many pointed out where he was getting his facts wrong on Pakistan:
Mr trump you should meet here with these amry persons families who had sacrificed their lives in this war. Shameful from you. World need peace we need peace— Zahid (@Zahid94480057) January 1, 2018
You dont have the capability to fight war in Afghanistan without help of Pakistan. Money you gave was in compensation for Pakistani roads and airbase used. You didnt fully compensated. You created TTP to destabilize Pak. No More, real terrorist is your country— Lutf Ullah Khan (@lutfikhann) January 1, 2018
Pakistan has sacrificed more than any other country in the world since 9/11. Let them know and make it clear straight up to their face.— Syed M. Kazmi (@SMahmoodKazmi) January 1, 2018
Pakistan Has Done A Lot. We've Lost 100K People (Civilian + Army Personnel) In War Against Terrorism. We've Lost Billions Of Dollars, More Than Your Bloody Aid, In This War. You People've Lost War In Afghanistan. Don't Blame Us For That. +— SAM Ch. (@Samsiyali) January 1, 2018
Meanwhile, people responded to the President's tweets about Pakistan's western neighbor, Iran. Some were quick to point out his hypocrisy:
Strange irony. An authoritarian regime being tongue lashed by a man who savages American media in an attempt destroy democracy. Weird shit Donald. Just Weird.— Andi Green (@cluster_duck) January 2, 2018
Ok, I get what you are saying. The bad deal is the catalyst for the peaceful protests against the corrupt Iranian government. So the bad deal is bad like good. Cool. Who made the deal again?— ErleD (@ErleDorman) January 2, 2018
And the fact that the President's support for street protest seems to only apply to certain nations:
You don't seem to be focusing much on the protests in Tel Aviv, wanting Nethanyahu to resign? Protests in the streets.— Lady Verity Dottir (@Anamcara2015) January 2, 2018
While this person defended President Obama's landmark deal with the Iranians:
You can say it was a “terrible deal” but @BarackObama had 3 options: (1) standby while Iran got nukes, (2) invade and fight another war and (3) the deal @JohnKerry negotiated that kept Iran from getting nukes. #3 is clearly the best option. What’s your genius plan - tweets?— Bourbon Democrat (@Bourbon_Dem) January 2, 2018
What region will the President destabilize next?