Trump’s Twitter attack has escalated into severing aid — and it could backfire.

President Donald Trump’s first tweet of 2018 wasn’t about his crowd sizes, Hillary Clinton, or the Russia investigation. It was, instead, about an issue that he’s paid scant attention to in public for his first year in office: the US relationship with Pakistan.

“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,” Trump tweeted on January 1. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

It quickly became clear that Trump’s tweet was more than an idle threat. On Thursday the State Department announced that the US was freezing most military aid to Pakistan. The administration has declined to specify the exact amount of funds it will cut off, but the suspension could freeze up to $1.3 billion in aid.

The move has infuriated Pakistan. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told the Wall Street Journal on Friday that the US had turned Islamabad into a “whipping boy” to distract from its own failures in the war in Afghanistan. He also implied that the US’s move could end up torching cooperation between the US and Pakistan on issues like sharing intelligence. “We do not have any alliance” with the US, he said. “This is not how allies behave.”

Trump’s decision to freeze huge amounts of aid to Pakistan is driven by a grievance that was also held by the Obama administration — that Pakistan is either aiding or turning a blind eye to powerful anti-US militant groups in Afghanistan that undermine the US’s war efforts there.

What makes this tricky for the US is that Pakistan could choose to retaliate by Read More Here