CPSD - Commentary

White House Upheaval: Trump Administration Undergoes Another Major Change

In November 2016, Donald Trump clinched victory in the 2016 presidential election and ascended to office, in what is now described as a watershed moment in the history of the United States. The event was unprecedented in many ways, one of them being President Trump’s utter lack of experience in political office. This inexperience was visible in the major disarray that the White House administration underwent through the very first months of President Trump’s tenure. A constant dismissal and rehiring of staff with a questionable choice of advisors were just some of the aftershocks of the Trump administration’s arrival. These policy changes affirmed the public’s worst fears after Trump assumed the mantle of presidency.

The most significant change in the Trump administration transpired on March 13th 2018, when President Trump tweeted the replacement of his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with the Director of CIA Mike Pompeo. This controversial appointment has raised concerns in policy circles, especially over Tillerson’s removal and the subsequent choice. In a pattern established by the Trump administration, the Tillerson removal is also unprecedented and indicates the fickle mindedness and naiveté of Trump’s policies. . Secretary of State Tillerson and President Trump were known to recently be at odds, with the former famously labelling the President ‘a moron.’ News sources indicate that Mike Pompeo boasts a solid rapport with the President and has routinely briefed the President on matters of national security. This newfound bond maybe a principle reason for Pompeo’s appointment.

The limits of this debacle further extend to the proposed appointment of the new CIA director, Gina Haspel – notorious for her support of brutal interrogation tactics. President Trump although, is reportedly pleased at the selection of the first female Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). His administration boasts this appointment as a milestone in women’s empowerment, but analysts claim that Haspel’s record on human rights is significantly controversial. Haspel’s appointment although, is yet to be approved by the Senate, but her career at the CIA raises significant questions on the application of the Geneva Conventions in CIA torture programs.

CPSD recommends that Pakistan should utilize this opportunity to improve its relations with the United States. The Secretary of State is the key negotiator in the foreign policy arena therefore, ex-Secretary Tillerson’s exit should be used to renew negotiations with the Pakistani state. Although, the rise of China as a prominent global economic power has shifted Pakistan’s foreign policy goals, but the United States continues to be a formidable power. Pakistan must continue to coordinate with its Western ally and focus on overhauling its policy towards the US, as the new Secretary of State transitions into government.