The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World

Overview

Seemingly from its birth, Pakistan has teetered on the brink of becoming a failed state. Today, it ranks 133rd out of 148 countries in global competitiveness. Its economy is as dysfunctional as its political system is corrupt; both rely heavily on international aid for their existence. Taliban forces occupy 30 percent of the country. It possesses over a hundred nuclear weapons that could easily fall into terrorists' hands. Why, in an era when countries across the developing world are experiencing impressive ...

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The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World

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Overview

Seemingly from its birth, Pakistan has teetered on the brink of becoming a failed state. Today, it ranks 133rd out of 148 countries in global competitiveness. Its economy is as dysfunctional as its political system is corrupt; both rely heavily on international aid for their existence. Taliban forces occupy 30 percent of the country. It possesses over a hundred nuclear weapons that could easily fall into terrorists' hands. Why, in an era when countries across the developing world are experiencing impressive economic growth and building democratic institutions, has Pakistan been such a conspicuous failure?

In The Warrior State, noted international relations and South Asia scholar T.V. Paul untangles this fascinating riddle. Paul argues that the "geostrategic curse"—akin to the "resource curse" that plagues oil-rich autocracies—is at the root of Pakistan's unique inability to progress. Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has been at the center of major geopolitical struggles: the US-Soviet rivalry, the conflict with India, and most recently the post 9/11 wars. No matter how ineffective the regime is, massive foreign aid keeps pouring in from major powers and their allies with a stake in the region. The reliability of such aid defuses any pressure on political elites to launch the far-reaching domestic reforms necessary to promote sustained growth, higher standards of living, and more stable democratic institutions. Paul shows that excessive war-making efforts have drained Pakistan's limited economic resources without making the country safer or more stable. Indeed, despite the regime's emphasis on security, the country continues to be beset by widespread violence and terrorism.

In an age of transnational terrorism and nuclear proliferation, understanding Pakistan's development, particularly the negative effects of foreign aid and geopolitical centrality, is more important than ever. Painstakingly researched and brilliantly argued, The Warrior State tackles what may be the world's most dangerous powder keg and uncovers the true causes of Pakistan's enormously consequential failure.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Grim yet thoughtful... an insightful and harsh portrait of a dysfunctional nation." —Kirkus Reviews

"Paul lucidly and comprehensively explains the historical circumstances that led to 'a dearth of strong political leaders or political parties with a deep democratic sense of commitment' and created incentives for Pakistan's elite to pursue irresponsible policies... This sobering study will appeal to anyone interested in the region." —Publishers Weekly

"Pakistan and its army sometimes seem to be the same entity. They are not, and no book other than The Warrior State better places Pakistan's army and the state in their international and comparative settings. It will be essential to scholars of the Subcontinent and of international and comparative politics, as well as all those interested in knowing why this country became the way it did." —Stephen P. Cohen, Brookings Institution and author of Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum

"In The Warrior State, T.V. Paul clarifies why nuclear-armed Pakistan continues to neglect all other aspects of development to maintain military parity with India. Even those who disagree with some of his conclusions will find useful his explanation of Pakistan's insecurities and the policies they have inspired. This book is a valuable addition to the literature on Pakistan's dysfunction and that dysfunction's nexus with militarism and Jihadi militancy." —Husain Haqqani, former ambassador of Pakistan to the United States and Professor of International Relations, Boston University and author of Pakistan Between Mosque and Military

"The Warrior State is a provocative and insightful review of Pakistan's tortured politics filled with interesting comparisons to other Muslim and emerging states." —Bruce Riedel, Director of the Brookings Institution's Intelligence Project

"T.V. Paul's book is a timely commentary on Pakistan's perennial search for stability." —Shuja Nawaz, Director, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council and author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within

"The Warrior State provides an unusual perspective on the links between Pakistan's army-dominated political system and the weakness of the Pakistani state, looking at the different experience of some other army-dominated countries. A thought-provoking contribution." —Teresita Schaffer, retired U.S. Ambassador, Brookings Institution

Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-12
Pakistan is a mess, writes Paul (International Relations/McGill Univ.; Asymmetric Conflicts: War Initiation by Weaker Powers, 2011, etc.) in this grim yet thoughtful analysis of how it got that way and how, however unlikely, it might straighten out. Everyone's list of failing states contains many in Africa but also includes Pakistan, which is equally poor and ruled by a military that pursues a pugnacious, hyper-realpolitik foreign policy and ignores the necessity of economic development. In the chaos following the 1947 partition of British India, Pakistan received little of the bureaucracy, infrastructure and treasury and lost the first of four wars with India. Yet India, despite its own turmoil, corruption and ethnic quarrels, has prospered during recent decades and maintained democratic institutions. Pakistan, on the other hand, remains an impoverished autocracy. "Neither the national security state approach nor the use of religion has pacified the class and ethnic division of Pakistani society," writes the author. "It is indeed one of the least globalized countries in terms of the core economic categories of trade and investment." When generals do not govern directly, weak civilian leaders defer to a military that absorbs most of the budget and remains fixated with the next war with India. Other great powers feed this obsession. China considers Pakistan an ally in its border disputes with India. Happy to learn that the generals opposed communism, the United States sent aid, which vastly increased after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and continues. American leaders are aware that Pakistan spends most on her forces facing India, but they continue to yearn (in vain) for more cooperation in the war on terrorism. This aid has proved a "geostrategic curse," perpetuating a perilously unstable warrior state and rescuing it from bankruptcy more than once. Painting a broader picture but covering much the same ground as former Pakistani ambassador Husain Haqqani's Magnificent Delusions (2013), Paul delivers an equally insightful and harsh portrait of a dysfunctional nation.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199322237
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/3/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 635,841
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

T.V. Paul is James McGill Professor of International Relations at McGill University, Montreal, and a leading scholar of international security, regional security, and South Asia. His 15 published books include: South Asia's Weak States: Understanding the Regional Insecurity Predicament; The India-Pakistan Conflict: An Enduring Rivalry; India in the World Order: Searching for Major Power Status; Globalization and the National Security State, and Status in World Politics. He has also published over 55 journal articles and book chapters and has lectured at research institutions internationally. He is the editor of the book series: South Asia in World Affairs and was the founding director of the McGill/University of Montreal Center for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS). During 2013-14 Paul served as vice-president of the International Studies Association (ISA).

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Table of Contents

1. War and Development
2. The Causes
3. A Short History
4. The Garrison State
5. The Geostrategic Urge
6. Religion and Politics
7. Comparing Pakistan
8. The Warrior State Today

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