The Pakistan Cauldron: Conspiracy, Assassination & Instability

The Pakistan Cauldron: Conspiracy, Assassination & Instability


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The killing of Osama bin Laden spotlighted Pakistan’s unpredictable political dynamics, which are often driven by conspiracy theory, paranoia, and a sense of betrayal. In Pakistan, the late prime minister Benazir Bhutto famously declared, there is “always the story behind the story.” In The Pakistan Cauldron, James P. Farwell explains what makes Pakistani politics tick. Farwell has advised the Department of Defense on terrorism, sovereignty, and the political issues in the Middle East, Africa, and Pakistan. Here he reveals how key Pakistani political players have inconsistently employed the principles of strategic communication to advance their agendas and undercut their enemies. Pakistan is an enigma to many. Only by understanding the complex forces that shape Pakistani leaders can we uncover their shifting political agendas and how they affect America and the West. Farwell explains how and why former president Pervez Musharraf clamped down on nuclear scientist A. Q. Kahn and isolated him. He assesses Benazir Bhutto’s unique legacy and analyzes how Musharraf handled the aftermath of her assassination. He explains Pakistan’s current instability and demonstrates how the country’s emotional reaction to bin Laden’s death is best understood as the outcome of long-standing political dynamics. The Pakistan Cauldron is for anyone who needs to know why Pakistan continues to pose increasingly difficult challenges for the United States and the West.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597979825
Publisher: Potomac Books
Publication date: 10/31/2011
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

James P. Farwell is an expert in strategic communication who has advised the Department of Defense, U.S. Special Operations Command, and the U.S. Strategic Command on the Middle East, Africa, and Pakistan. He has written commentaries for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Middle East Institute, the National Interest, IO Journal, and Defence IQ. A graduate of Tulane and the University of Cambridge, England, he is also an attorney and a political consultant who has worked nationally and internationally at the presidential level. He is a senior research scholar in strategic studies at the Munk School, Center for Global Security, University of Toronto.

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Pakistan Cauldron: Conspiracy, Assassination & Instability 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
SusanWeinst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Pakistan Cauldron: Conspiracy, Assassination & Instability by James P. Farwell is a rare insider look at the "culture of political paranoia," we think of Pakistani politics. Farwell, a Pentagon expert on Pakistan w/special experience in strategic commmunications, explains the motivations of major players. His portrait of A.O.Kahn details the origins of Pakistan's secret nuclear program, he explains the rise of Benazir Bhutto and her fight for democracy and offers new explanation about her assassination. He tells the story of the Bush, Musharraf relationship and what it's meant to the U.S., as well as Zardari's regime. Farwell explains the country's emotional reaction to Bin Laden's death, as the outcome of long-standing political dynamics. And the challenge of our future relationship with a country so strategically vital. This is a "must read" for anyone who wants to understand the seeming enigma of Pakistan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sandra22 More than 1 year ago
This book is not just an astute political analysis. It is as entertaining as it is mind-opening. It is at once an historical account of moderns Pakistan’s most important players, a strategic tutorial on their struggles and achievements and a political thriller as Farwell takes us on an insider’s ride through Pakistan’s most important modern history. Farwell’s book is a great read and now is the perfect time to read it. It not only provides a new and perhaps more personal view of the fascinating political background of the past five decades in Pakistan but illustrates how its leaders manipulated the country’s dysfunctional politics to their advantage –due in large part to their astute understanding of their country’s complex consciousness and their skill in framing the dialogue to their advantage. This week’s unfortunate NATO strike plays right into the psyche of the Pakistanis’ weak national identity and their culture of conspiracy and betrayal and is only the latest in what Pakistan sees as the treacherous workings of a duplicitous US. They have countered with a powerful play. Is there a real conference in Bonne without Pakistan? As heard on BBC, “there is no Hamlet without the Prince.” With what strategic rhetoric will NATO counter? As Farwell discusses how the players have ingeniously controlled the messages to hold their adversaries back, we can only watch to see who will win this – the latest crisis in a region rife with rancor. Playing a deadly game of chess with a nation of 180 million people, 100 nuclear warheads and violent extremists is a dangerous game of lethal proportions. This book provides most of us a better understanding of this game. It will not, however, help us sleep better contemplating a safe and peaceful world.
Infantryman More than 1 year ago
James Farwell has undertaken original research and considered evidence from a novel perspective to develop insights and explain issues in a refreshingly interesting way. His views and conclusions are not constrained by received wisdom or conventional thinking. The intellectual rigour and level-headed analysis with which he tackles this complex project is fascinating and has produced an informative book. One does not have to agree with all he writes to find this work engaging, stimulating and a valuable contribution to our understanding of the region, the important players, influences and resulting challenges. Essential reading for anyone striving to understand Pakistan. A former Commander British Forces Afghanistan and British Defence Attaché in Kabul.
Schrager-2011 More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book, and stands out distinctly from all the other many books about Pakistan. It reveals the psyche and the unique qualities of this troubled and important nation through the eyes of three of its most compelling contemporary protagonists -- A.Q. Khan, Pervez Musharraf and the intriguing Benezir Bhutto. The latter especially is so well drawn that she takes on added near-beatific qualities, and it is so easy to understands what a loss her death was to her nation. No other book that I have read about Pakistan makes her as intriguing as this one. As a retired Foreign Service Officer who has dealt with Pakistan in the past, I understand how hard it is to get this country right; many have failed, but Farwell succeeds. Farwell weaves a compelling and prodigiously researched adventure of a traditional society whose place in the world was forever changed by September 11 and our admonition that they were "either for us or against us." To this day, Pakistan has not answered that question, and Farwell, in deft and compelling prose, demonstrates why and how Pakistan was forced into troubled and unnatural alliances that threaten US policy in that region and at the same time threaten Pakistan's own sovereignty. He understands and deftly describes the enormous price Pakistan has paid, and is paying, for what they perceive of as "America's War." This would have been enough to have made this a compelling read. But Farwell, a recognized expert in the new area of "strategic communication," takes this discipline and applies it to the three principals in the final part of this intriguing book. He shows how this discipline is applied in "real life" and how it is more than just a concept for cerebral tennis, but rather an art with, in some cases, life and death consequences. Pakistan lends itself only to an approximation of truth, but Farwell gets as close to the vital center of this troubled nation as anyone has done so far.