Jeffrey Goldberg, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
"The questions Haqqani answers in this bookamong them, Why do Pakistan and the United States perpetually careen from one crisis to another?should make it indispensable reading for U.S. Presidents and secretaries of state.”
Kirkus Reviews, *starred* review
“[An] insightful, painful history of Pakistani-American relations
Demonstrating no mercy to either party, Haqqani admits that Pakistan verges on failed-state status but shows little patience with America's persistently shortsighted, fruitless policies.”
“Haqqani uses his wealth of personal experience to present a detailed account of the genesis and evolution of U.S.-Pakistani relations over the last 60 years
The book is a useful resource for academics, journalists, and policymakers at all levels.”
“Insightful if disturbing... Making it clear why he is persona non grata in his homeland, Haqqani concludes that military aid has undermined Pakistan's democracy, converting it into a rentier state living off American money rather than its people's productivity.”
Declan Walsh, New York Times
“Patriotism, lies and wrenching disappointment are the interweaving coils of “Magnificent Delusions,” a sweeping survey of the tumultuous relations between Washington and Islamabad since Pakistan's founding in 1947. Since the American commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, the alliance between the two countries has been sickly, with a racing pulse but little heart. Mr. Haqqani's scholarly history suggests that the condition is genetic, rooted in the very DNA of their relationship.”
Mark Moyer, Wall Street Journal
“[Haqqani's] purpose isn't to narrate his service as ambassador or score political points but to outline the contours of American relations with Pakistan over time, with a final chapter depicting the 2011 collapse as a new instance of historical trends. While one might desire a fuller accounting of his ambassadorship, the book covers its chosen ground superbly.”
Richard Leiby, Washington Post
“A solid synthesis of history, political analysis and social critique."
Kapil Komireddi, Daily Beast
"The most clear-eyed history of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship yet published...Not only should Haqqani's book be read by everyone with an interest in Pakistan; it ought be compulsory reading for members of Congress and officials at the State Department."
Michael Kugelman, Foreign Policy
"Impeccably researched, with an overwhelming reliance on primary sources thereby making its often controversial findings impossible to dispute. The book's tone is strikingly restrained, subjective yet never polemical. This is admirable, given that its author's public service career has been damaged, if not destroyed, by the toxic nature of his subject."
“Explains from the inside how successive Islamabad governments have demanded money and weapons from Washington while simultaneously promoting Islamic extremism to the detriment of both the US and Pakistan.”
Lisa Curtis, National Interest
“If you want a better understanding of why U.S. policy has failed so miserably in Pakistan, you should read Husain Haqqani's latest book
Fast-paced and highly readable
Haqqani has provided a well-documented and interesting account of the policy disconnects between the United States and Pakistan. His book should make a tremendous contribution toward grounding U.S. policy toward Pakistan in more realistic assumptions that will help avoid future crises between the two countries.”
Pakistan never pulled itself together after its bloody creation from British India in 1947, asserts Haqqani (International Relations/Boston Univ.; Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, 2005, etc.), former ambassador to the United States, in this insightful, painful history of Pakistani-American relations. Cobbling together a government (India received the capital and most civil servants) after independence, Pakistan's leaders remain preoccupied with India, a fixation aggravated by losing several wars and the secession of East Pakistan as Bangladesh. The military absorbed the lion's share of the budget, and when generals were not governing, civilian leaders deferred to their wishes. The economic development has been comparable to that of sub-Saharan Africa. Pakistan received modest aid until the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, when America funneled massive support for the mujahedeen through Pakistan's army, which remained influential in the anarchy after the Soviet withdrawal, sponsoring radical Islamic forces including the Taliban. Pakistan considers a fiercely Islamic Afghan government essential to exclude Indian influence. After 9/11, Pakistan agreed to support America's war on terror. This was risky since the average Pakistani prefers terrorists to Americans, but we made an offer it couldn't refuse: an avalanche of aid. American leaders knew Pakistan would spend most on conventional forces facing India but hoped for a quid pro quo. The result has been some cooperation against international terrorism but none against the Afghan Taliban--which, the author reminds us, are not international terrorists. America's increasing frustration is matched by Pakistani outrage at military and drone incursions, which have produced violent anti-Americanism that threatens to destabilize a government that has never been noticeably stable. Demonstrating no mercy to either party, Haqqani admits that Pakistan verges on failed-state status but shows little patience with America's persistently shortsighted, fruitless policies.
The United States and Pakistan are often described as allies and partners. But, as Haqqani (international relations, Boston Univ.), former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, makes clear, the U.S.-Pakistani alliance over the past six decades has been a mirage that is in need of redefinition and mutual acknowledgment of divergent interests. Haqqani uses his wealth of personal experience to present a detailed account of the genesis and evolution of U.S.-Pakistani relations over the last 60 years. As he clearly demonstrates, Pakistan's geopolitical alliance with the United States has been predicated on using U.S. aid to confront India's influence and hegemony in the region. For the United States, however, these are not and never have been overriding concerns. Washington's interests in Pakistan were initially driven by the Cold War realities of the 1950s and 1960s, by the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, and by the war on terror. In other words, this alliance of convenience has not been based on shared values or on the same regional geostrategic interests. VERDICT The book is a useful resource for academics, journalists, and policymakers at all levels.—Nader Entessar, Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile