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I am not questioning the aid cut. I am just curious about why Pompeo is visiting Pakistan just after an aid cut.

If Pompeo had to visit Pakistan, why cut the aid in the first place and vice versa?

What is the rationale of undertaking a visit just after cutting aid?

  • I have removed a sentence that I found irrelevant to the question. Please, feel free to roll back if you think it is important for the post. – Alexei Sep 3 '18 at 8:45
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    Presumably he is hoping to gain some concessions in exchange for restoring the aid. – user Sep 3 '18 at 9:36
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    It is my impression that the current US administration does not have a good public messaging strategy. What different officials and their spokespersons say and do does not always match. – o.m. Sep 3 '18 at 9:50
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    Also, bilateral relations are not only about this aid. Trade, security, travel, commerce, other aids... While the timing of the cut can cause issues, there can be still lots of things to talk about. And of course, one could argue that if the aid was going to be cut, it was better to do it before the visit than after it. – SJuan76 Sep 3 '18 at 11:02
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    If you cut the aid after the visit, the other side could retaliate by reneging of any agreement reached during the visit, and would probably feel that it has been cheated. Being upfront about it means that any agreement reached during the visit is more likely to last. – SJuan76 Sep 3 '18 at 11:18
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This is basic carrot and stick diplomacy. Announcing that aid is being cut is the stick (i.e. the punishment). United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo can now offer the carrot (the reward).

We may not be publicly told what the possible carrots are. An obvious possibility is that the aid might be restored if Pakistan does something or another. Of course, we may not be told what the US wants Pakistan to do.

It is not at all uncommon for diplomatic discussions to be private. That allows both sides to offer things that might be publicly embarrassing if known. If the negotiations are private, then they only need to publicly share those things on which they agree to publicly visible changes. They don't need to share that they considered other things.

Another issue is that they may want to announce the aid cut now so as to allow the public reaction to settle before the Pompeo visit. If they cut the aid after or during the visit, then public reaction may make it harder for the Pakistani government to announce a new agreement. This is because people will tend to forget the benefits of the new agreement when presented with the negatives of the cut in aid. If they announce the cut in aid first, then they can time the announcement of a new agreement for when the public is most receptive. The earlier the aid cut is announced, the sooner that point in time is reached.

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