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The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World Hardcover – 10 Apr 2014


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"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 Ce

About 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 14 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 ; and Globalization and the National Security State.

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Amazon.com: 21 reviews
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent work on a difficult, polarizing subject 10 Mar 2014
By Jarrod Hayes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
T.V Paul takes on one of the world's most intriguing and dangerous states: Pakistan. In so doing, he weaves a compelling narrative and brings together a range of theoretical approaches. In the first instance, Paul is curious why Pakistan has so obviously failed to become a stable, strong state despite decades of focus on security, often to the exclusion of everything else (eating grass to enable nuclear weapons development for example). Attending this focus on security is the fact that Pakistan is in one of the more volatile regions on the planet, with four wars being fought with India since Partition (three started by Pakistan and the fourth, the Bangladesh War, the result of mass West Pakistani killing in what was then East Pakistan). The failure to form a strong state in Pakistan is particularly curious given Tilly's argument that, at least in Europe, war made the state and the state made war. Paul argues that much of Pakistan's failure can be traced to what Paul calls its 'Geopolitical Curse'. Pakistan for most of its independent history has occupied a key geopolitical strategic space that has allowed it to become dependent on foreign aid, largely from the US but also Saudi Arabia, weakening its institutions and enabling the overwhelming dominance of the military in political affairs. Paul's nuanced argument is not purely structural, however. While Pakistan has a 'Geopolitical curse', it is not alone in its affliction and structure is not destiny, and therein lies the role of agency. Paul explores not only the structures that enabled the rise of the warrior state, but also the decisions and priorities of Pakistani governments that made Pakistan what it is today. Structure enables, agency creates, and Paul does a wonderful job of exploring the nexus.

In reference to my point about bringing together multiple theoretical concepts and approaches, Paul highlights the costs of security, something securitization theory has long warned. Pakistan's focus on security has come at the expense of development and corroded the relationship between state and society. While securitization theory has warned of such costs, Paul brings them to life through his careful engagement with Pakistani politics and history. In addressing this issue, Paul also joins a literature, embodied by Andrew Bacevich, concerned with the creeping militarization of governance. He also highlights the role of ideas and how ideas shape the ways governments and leaders understand their world, something constructivists have long argued. Speaking to scholars of strategy and the revolution of military affairs (RMA), Paul notes that war has not had the same state building effect in Pakistan as it had in European states, suggesting intriguing changes in the relationship between politics and war traced to changes in the nature of war and war-making technology.

The book isn't perfect. Undoubtedly, some generalizations and simplifications are made (one that struck me was Paul's claim that the Soviet Union dissolved primarily because of an excessive focus on national security--certainly this is an important part of the story, but I am not sure a greater focus on development would have resulted in a unified Soviet society). But no book is perfect, and these issues are minor and do not detract from Paul's argument or the convincing evidence he marshals to support his case. This is an extremely interesting and important book, and scholars as well as the interested layperson will greatly benefit from its reading.

If I may, a brief note on how to read the reviews of Paul's book. Without a doubt, the book will be at the mercy of the same polarized attitudes that manifest in South Asia. Thus, a Hindu nationalist might criticize Paul for not tracing the root of Pakistan's dysfunction to Pakistani religious culture, while a Pakistani might take issue with the very idea that Pakistan has a problem. Both would be wrong. The Hindu nationalist is wrong because, while religion certainly plays a role in national behavior, it is far from deterministic (as the multitude of badly behaving actors in all religions attests). For the Pakistani nationalist, Pakistan clearly has deep rooted problems, and ignoring them won't make them go away. Clearly, a grain of salt is needed.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A Captivating Book 27 Jan 2014
By Moorthy Muthuswamy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Finally, a book by a North American academic shines spotlight on how excessive emphasis on religion has transformed Pakistan into a major international security problem. The issue of the role of religion has been traced extensively and with interesting detail in this new book. However, similar analysis, to a lesser extent, has been published elsewhere by some of us.

Indeed, there is no second guessing the author’s assessment that as a warrior state, Pakistan “is unlikely to provide economic opportunity or genuine security for its people (p. 194).”

The author also makes interesting and useful comparisons of Pakistan with several Muslim and non-Muslim nations. But he misses out on the more relevant comparison of Pakistani Muslim vs. Indian Hindu immigrants in the United Kingdom and that of Hindu majority vs. Muslim minorities in India, respectively. That these Muslim minorities are backward and have undergone violent radicalization (just like Pakistan) tells us a great deal about the nature of the underlying religious dynamics at play in these communities.

Therefore, I am not surprised that the author failed to identify how specifically the religious forces drove Pakistan into becoming what it is today, in a manner that can be useful to both internal and external entities (such as the United States and India) wanting to transform Pakistan into a benevolent state.

For example, in my opinion, the following prescriptive advice is vague: “Internally, the Pakistani elite has to adopt a semi-secular or at least quasi-Islamic state model and begin considering development as its core mission (p. 196).” Moreover, this advice is almost as old as Pakistan itself, as the author himself notes in earlier pages, both Ayub Khan (p. 136) and Pervez Musharraf (pp. 141-142), to a varying degree, tried to moderate Pakistan but found the Islamist forces blocking their way.

Nonetheless, I am giving this book a three star rating, because it is very interesting to read and breaks new ground in the way Pakistan needs to be viewed and serves as a good starting point for others to finish the job of figuring out a modern conundrum called Pakistan.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A failed state? Not yet. 6 July 2014
By KSR Menon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Prof TV Paul’s ‘ book ‘The Warrior State’ is a telling commentary on the evolution of contemporary Pakistan. He has inducted a new element ‘Geostrategic Curse’ to explain the current predicament of the country marked by strife and lack of education and development. Though he is highly critical of the road Pakistan has taken since independence, he does not go so far as to describe it as a failed state. Instead the advice he gives is ‘grow up.’ It is a moot point if the decision makers in Islamabad will benefit from his advice as according to him except for Gen Ayub Khan no other Pakistani ruler has had the wisdom to give the right direction, albeit briefly, to the embattled state.
KSR Menon
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
It took a great deal of time- but now eventually a book has arrived that addresses the core reasons why Pakistan is what it is ! 27 April 2014
By Manish Shanker Sharma - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
TV Paul is an academic who has written extensively on a wide range of subjects in the security domain and "The Warrior State" is a masterpiece- a culmination of years of painstaking research on South Asia in general and Pakistan in particular. Paul narrates a gripping account of how the "Geostrategic Curse" has deeply affected the thinking and attitude of the Pakistani elite and has thus prevented them from seeing what is clearly visible to most of the world - its paranoid and excessive focus only on national security.

What is indeed telling is how the massive amounts of aid that continues to flow into the country has failed to reinvigorate its economy or improve the quality of life of the ordinary majority of citizens (purposes for which most aid is actually disbursed) and the fact that the excessive emphasis on security has not only not made Pakistan safe for most Pakistanis, it has also seen an exacerbation in the violence that the country faces. This being a direct result of the geostrategic policies of creating and arming groups to operate across both its Eastern and Western borders, policies that have come back to haunt itself- what with extremists gaining ground within the country.

As a law enforcement practitioner for the last 22 years, i feel the book will serve the community well both in understanding the complex dynamics at work and in developing broad policy responses. It will also provide inputs for scholars who are engaged in understanding Pakistan and assisting it to come out as a strong, balanced economy and nation. "The Warrior State" is an unputdownable, thought provoking contribution to the field of International Security.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book to understand Pakistan's insecurity predicament 14 Mar 2014
By Stefanie von Hlatky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Paul's concept of 'geostrategic curse' is an important contribution to the literature and illustrates the tensions between security dynamics and development efforts.
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