Although US President-elect Donald Trump has come out and accepted that his call with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ‘locker room talk and didn’t mean anything’, it’s important to realise the political duress that he might have been under before making the statement. This is especially true when you consider that analysts in the US are even predicting a possible impeachment by Congress, for saying nice things about Nawaz Sharif.
We can’t help but wonder whether Trump’s call to Nawaz Sharif, where he admitted to being open to ‘bombing fantastic Pakistan’, was more than just a congratulatory talk, or a bilateral discussion on sites that need to be destroyed and people that need to be killed. Slowly coming to terms with the unparalleled demands of the White House, the US President-elect clearly wanted counseling from a head of government, who has a quarter of a century worth of experience, despite never having put a run of five years together inside the PM House.
There is a lot that Trump can learn about statesmanship from Nawaz. For starters, the Pakistani premiere should look to explain how to convince people to take you seriously when you take over the reins of government as a bit of a joke. It’s been a decades-long struggle, but people of Pakistan now manage to control their laughter whenever they hear the phrase ‘Pakistan Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’ – this is especially true for those who vote for him.
Secondly, Trump might be worth multiple times more in assets and currency, but he can still learn a thing or two about the art of running a country in accordance with your business requirements. It’s one thing creating a real estate empire, and completely different inheriting an empire and running it like real estate. Incidentally, Nawaz can also help educate Trump about the science of devising foreign policy and helping bilateral relations as per business interests– and this is one subject Trump takes keen interest in.
Nawaz can also explain how a neoliberal business magnate can mobilise the working class in a country where another party was founded on that exact claim. Similarly, the Pakistani Prime Minister is familiar with U-turns on rightwing rhetoric, and disrespect for state institutions. There, of course, is a lot of similar rhetoric that Trump would be looking to turn his back on.
Even so, even if Trump were to memorise all the relevant theorems, he would still miss that one factor that would transform him from being a laughing stock to a veritable statesman.
Will Trump be able to find his Imran Khan?