Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding

Husain Haqqani. PublicAffairs, $28.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-61039-317-1
Mistrust and cross-purposes characterize relations between Pakistan and the U.S., writes Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S from 2008 to 2011 and now a Boston University professor, in this insightful if disturbing history. During the bloodshed of 1947, India’s forces drove Pakistan from Kashmir, a Muslim majority region that, theoretically, belonged to Muslim Pakistan. Obsession over Kashmir’s loss persists, creating a “virtual permanent war with India”; civil government remains subservient to the military, which absorbs most of Pakistan’s revenue, leaving little for economic development. Pakistani leaders quickly requested U.S aid, trumpeting their anticommunism. America responded modestly but generously after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and massively after 9/11. Pakistan spends the bulk of its resources facing India—American leaders accept this as the price of cooperation but gnash their teeth over Pakistan’s tepid enthusiasm for our war on terror. Pakistan’s generals have no love for al-Qaeda but have long supported the Afghan Taliban and would prefer them to the present government. 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. Agent: the Wylie Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/09/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
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