The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power

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Overview

Now in paperback, from a writer with unrivalled access and knowledge, a riveting portrait of America’s closest ally in the war on terror as it spirals into political chaos.The sixth most populous country in the world, Pakistan is the only Islamic state to have nuclear weapons. Its border with Afghanistan extends over 1,000 miles and is the likely hideout of Osama bin Laden. Yet it is the linchpin in the United States’ war on terror, receiving over $10 billion of American aid since 2001 and purchasing more than $5...

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The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power

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Overview

Now in paperback, from a writer with unrivalled access and knowledge, a riveting portrait of America’s closest ally in the war on terror as it spirals into political chaos.The sixth most populous country in the world, Pakistan is the only Islamic state to have nuclear weapons. Its border with Afghanistan extends over 1,000 miles and is the likely hideout of Osama bin Laden. Yet it is the linchpin in the United States’ war on terror, receiving over $10 billion of American aid since 2001 and purchasing more than $5 billion of U.S. weaponry in 2006 alone.

With unilateral incursions into Pakistan by U.S. troops pursuing Taliban fighters, and surveys indicating that more than seventy percent of Pakistanis fear America as a military threat, relations between the two countries remain tense. The scion of a famous Punjabi political family, with extraordinary contacts inside the country and internationally, Tariq Ali has long been acknowledged as a leading commentator on Pakistan. In The Duel, he combines deep understanding of the country’s history with extensive firsthand research and unsparing political judgment to weigh the prospects of those contending for power today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A well-informed, compelling narrative...Ali uses his own encounters with historical figures - Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto...they add an urgent, intimate layer to the narrative." — The Guardian

"Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world...Yet most Americans don't realize how much of the Pakistani peril is our own fault. The Duel ... should be read for an understanding of, first, what role America has played in creating this dangerous mix and, second, why many Pakistanis see us as responsible for their problems." —The Washington Post

Bruce Riedel
;&#most Americans don't realize how much of the Pakistani peril is our own fault. The Duel will anger many in this country but should be read for an understanding of, first, what role America has played in creating this dangerous mix and, second, why many Pakistanis see us as responsible for their problems…The Duel makes a strong case that the United States should back Pakistan's civilian leadership, flawed as it is, in an effort to build a modern Islamic democracy.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal

In his latest examination of Pakistan, Ali (Conversations with Edward Said) takes on the role of political storyteller. The turbulent Pakistani political landscape is both the setting and the protagonist in this study of a country in crisis. Spanning the rule of Pakistan's founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, to the Bhutto dynasty and Pervez Musharraf's military control, this work is less an analysis of Pakistan-U.S. relations than a tale of the Pakistani people's struggle for political autonomy and representation. Much like an embedded reporter who becomes a part of his story, Ali is not simply a recorder of events. As an active participant in many of Pakistan's internal political struggles, he cannot separate himself from the living history of his home country. His incisive scholarship on Pakistan's inception and subsequent leadership is peppered with personal anecdotes, biting commentary, and forcefully opinionated prose, effectively demonstrating that objectivity is not a necessary precursor to insightful analysis. Although the storytelling sometimes suffers from chronological breaks and the occasional tangent, Ali's passion for Pakistan and its political future ultimately makes his book an engaging (and often enraging) political story. Recommended for academic libraries.
—Veronica Arellano

Kirkus Reviews
Harshly critical of the American-backed Pakistani military and deeply concerned with the plight of his native country's people, London-based filmmaker and novelist Ali (Dictatorship of Capital: Politics and Culture in the 21st Century, 2008, etc.) warns of an imminent "conflagration of despair."His narrative moves gradually through the sad morass of Pakistan's history: its bloody, ethnic-driven birth in 1947, repeated dictatorships, entrenched corruption and incipient Islamic radicalization. The fight against terrorism has renewed America's interest in the country, he notes; since 9/11 the United States has pressured President Musharraf to the tune of $10 billion to cease harboring tribal insurgents from neighboring Afghanistan. America's fear that Pakistan is flirting with the jihadists may precipitate more unwanted U.S. intervention, he warns. Ali carefully examines Pakistan's long, troubled relationship with America since U.S. support of the first military dictatorship by General Ayub Khan in 1958. Patrician political leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, father of Benazir, took power during the turbulent period that led to the violent creation of Bangladesh from East Pakistan in 1972; his five-year leadership saw the birth of Pakistan as a nuclear state in defiance of the United States. Bhutto's "removal," according to Ali, was deemed necessary, and his chief of staff Zia-ul-Haq became president. Because it was instrumental in routing the Soviets after their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the author comments bitterly, "General Zia's dictatorship thus became the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the region." Ali considers the tenures of Benazir Bhutto and Musharraf, denouncing both for"clientilism, patronage and corruption on a gigantic scale." The American-engineered political marriage of convenience between the two ended in disaster, and Musharraf's military dictatorship is compounding the country's misery rather than delivering stability. Sage and watchful, Ali considers how the "organic evolution of politics in Pakistan," wrecked by American intervention, might be salvaged. Intense, closely observed commentary on perilous developments in an unstable nation. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg/Andrew Nurnberg Associates
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416561026
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 9/8/2009
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 784,544
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tariq Ali was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and educated at Oxford. His articles are featured regularly in The Guardian, The Nation, and The London Review of Books. Ali has written more than a dozen books as well scripts for both stage and screen. He lives in London.

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Table of Contents


Preface     IX
Pakistan at Sixty: A Conflagration of Despair     1
Rewinding Pakistan: Birth of Tragedy     29
The Washington Quartet: The Man Who Would Be Field Marshal     50
The Washington Quartet: The General Who Lost a Country     70
The Washington Quartet: The Soldier of Islam     97
The Washington Quartet: The General as Chief Executive     134
The House of Bhutto: Daughter of the West     159
On the Flight Path of American Power     191
Operation Enduring Freedom: Mirage of the "Good" War     217
Can Pakistan Be Recycled?     249
Index     279
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Customer Reviews

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