Amazing work which is visible in every way

Nawaz Sharif phoned Trump yesterday, and Trump responded by flinging himself down belly-up and squirming.

Donald Trump has heaped praise on Pakistan, traditionally a troublesome US ally, saying it is a “fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people” according to an official statement released by Islamabad.

The US president-elect made his effusive comments in a phone conversation on Wednesday with Nawaz Sharif, prime minister of the nuclear-armed state, whom Trump hailed as a “terrific guy”.

He had no idea who Sharif was, did he. He couldn’t remember what Pakistan was. He had no clue. He was vamping in place.

The statement by the government’s Press Information Department quoted Trump saying: “As I am talking to you prime minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people.”

It’s probably not a verbatim transcript, the Guardian points out. But if that’s the gist…somebody needs to put the baby back in the playpen, and never let it answer the phone again.

It is unlikely Sharif was expecting such a torrent of praise when he phoned Trump to congratulate him on his election victory.

Relations between the two countries have been fraught for years, with the Obama administration despairing at Pakistan’s harbouring of the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network, two insurgent groups that have used Pakistan soil to launch attacks on US and Nato troops in Afghanistan for more than 15 years.

Yes yes yes but Trump is an outsider, remember? His job is to ignore all that and just do what occurs to him when the phone rings.

Current rows between the two countries include US demands for the release from prison of Shakil Afridi, a doctor who helped lead the CIA to the hiding place of former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden; the withholding of $300m in “reimbursements” to the Pakistani army; and the holding up of a financing deal that would have allowed Islamabad to by US F16 fighter jets.

But none of those issues appeared to weigh on Trump, who reportedly told Sharif: “You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way.”

Pakistan will be cock-a-hoop over Trump’s apparent enthusiasm for engaging with a country that has few firm international allies.

“I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems,” Trump was reported as saying.

This will go well.

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