Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

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The leading journalist on Pakistan lays out America's options with Pakistan and Afghanistan in the post-Bin Laden years.

What are the possibilities-and hazards-facing America as it withdraws from Afghanistan and as it reviews its long engagement in Pakistan? Where is the Taliban now in both these countries? What does the immediate future hold and what are America's choices as President Obama considers our complicated history and faces ...

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Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

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The leading journalist on Pakistan lays out America's options with Pakistan and Afghanistan in the post-Bin Laden years.

What are the possibilities-and hazards-facing America as it withdraws from Afghanistan and as it reviews its long engagement in Pakistan? Where is the Taliban now in both these countries? What does the immediate future hold and what are America's choices as President Obama considers our complicated history and faces reelection?

These are some of the crucial questions that Ahmed Rashid- Pakistan's preeminent journalist-takes on in this follow-up to his acclaimed Descent into Chaos. Rashid correctly predicted that the Iraq war would have to be refocused into Afghanistan and that Pakistan would emerge as the leading player through which American interests and actions would have to be directed. Now, as Washington and the rest of the West wrestle with negotiating with unreliable and unstable "allies" in Pakistan, there is no better guide to the dark future than Ahmed Rashid.

He focuses on the long-term problems-the changing casts of characters, the future of international terrorism, and the actual policies and strategies both within Pakistan and Afghanistan and among the Western allies-as the world tries to bring some stability to a fractured region saddled with a legacy of violence and corruption. The decisions made by America and the West will affect the security and safety of the world. And as he has done so well in the past, Rashid offers sensible solutions and provides a way forward for all three countries.

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Editorial Reviews

Bruce Riedel
…a superb work on the future of Pakistan…Rashid argues that there is a complex syndicate of jihadi terrorists operating today in Pakistan and Afghanistan…and [he] does a great job of describing how the Pakistani army and the ISI helped build this Frankenstein's monster over the past four decades.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
With the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 and the U.S. scheduled to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in 2014, growing attention is focused on Afghanistan's far more populous and politically volatile eastern neighbor. Native son and journalist Rashid-who has written four previous books on Pakistan and on radical Islam in the region (including Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia) takes a closer look at his country's prospects and finds them extremely tenuous, given high illiteracy and poverty rates, as well as disputes between a weak civilian government and the military and intelligence service (ISI). Rashid maintains that Pakistan's approach to militant Islam is contradictory; it fights some Jihadists that directly threaten the country's interests, while utilizing others as proxies against India in Kashmir. Meanwhile, relations with the U.S. have sharply deteriorated since the assassination of bin Laden, which gave rise to differing accounts from Washington and Islamabad regarding Pakistani intelligence concerning bin Laden's whereabouts. Rashid unsparingly details Pakistan's multiple problems, along with those of the American-Pakistani relationship. His tone is too dire at times, but generally, this is a clear-headed, sobering look at a country whose ties with the U.S. are becoming ever more frayed. Agent: Flip Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Washington Post
"[Rashid] literally wrote the book on the Taliban and now has added a superb work on the future of Pakistan."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Ahmed Rashid's latest work provides essential insights for anyone who hopes to understand what's going on in Central Asia and the alternative futures that stretch out before it."
Louisville Courier-Journal
"Pakistan on the Brink is a page turner. Through Ahmed Rashid's eloquent, incisive, objective, and fact-based descriptions of events and blunders repeatedly committed by the Afghan, Pakistani, and American establishments, the reader gets a great understanding of the genesis of the quagmire for which President Obama has coined the phrase AfPak."
Library Journal
If you follow the Washington Post, the New York Review of Books, NPR, or the BBC World Service, you'll know Rashid as the far-sighted Pakistani journalist who envisioned the emergence of Pakistan and reemergence of Afghanistan as important factors in the current Middle East equation. Here he considers what withdrawal from Afghanistan will mean for America, particularly as it reconsiders its relationship with Pakistan. Serious reading; with a six-city tour.
Kirkus Reviews
In this grim but insightful sequel to Descent into Chaos (2008), veteran Pakistani journalist Rashid's outlook is perfectly expressed by the title of that earlier overview. Not yet a failed state like Somalia, Pakistan is inching perilously close. The irresponsible elite class pays little taxes to an incompetent government whose citizens, long among Asia's most impoverished, are growing poorer. The army rules; civilian leaders defer to the military, handing over a lion's share of the budget which it devotes to high-tech arms, including a nuclear arsenal, directed at India. Hatred of India is a national obsession. Preparations for the inevitable war require a compliant Afghanistan on its opposite border, so Pakistan has always supported the Taliban, whose fanatic Islam seems more anti-India than the traditional, easygoing Afghan version. No fan of international terrorism, Pakistan happily accepted the avalanche of American money that followed 9/11 and provided valuable aid in tracking down al-Qaeda militants even within its borders. Although no secret, its continued support of the Taliban seemed a mystery to the Bush administration for years, and Pakistan remains impervious to American hectoring and threats to cut off aid. President Obama took office promising to fix matters, but he has proved a disappointment. Supporting the Taliban has brought Pakistan few benefits. Perhaps most disturbingly, a separate Taliban faction has started to unleash a vicious, destabilizing terrorist campaign. Rashid's concluding advice, although reasonable, requires too many leaders to come to their senses, but readers will welcome this insider's lucid, expert account of a disaster in the making.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455865079
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 3/15/2012
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ahmed Rashid is a journalist who has been covering Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia for more than twenty years. He is a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, Far Eastern Economic Review, Daily Telegraph, and The Nation, a leading newspaper in Pakistan. His #1 New York Times bestseller Taliban has been translated into more than twenty languages.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    An interesting perspective on historical and current events

    Well written and informative on a very serious subject.

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  • Posted August 5, 2012

    An appetizer

    This book is a good introduction to the problem of Pakistan, but for a really detailed analysis of Pakistan, refer to Anatol Lieven's Pakistan: A Hard Country.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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