Pakistan: A Hard Country

Anatol Lieven, PublicAffairs, $35 (592p) ISBN 978-1-61039-021-7
Lieven (Chechnya), who has reported on Pakistan off and on for 20 years, offers a compelling argument for reorienting Western interests (and investments) in its wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Given its enormous population (six times that of Afghanistan), the key role Pakistani intelligence plays in Western efforts against terrorism, the strong ties between Pakistan and Western countries (especially Britain), and the fact that Pakistan's army is one of Asia's strongest (complete with nuclear weapons), Lieven writes, "Pakistan is quite simply far more important to the region, the West and the world than is Afghanistan: a statement which is a matter not of sentiment but of mathematics." His extensive history and cartography of the country comes equipped with solid policy prescriptions—for drone attacks to be ceased and for the U.S. to acknowledge how powerfully the bungled invasion of Afghanistan contributed to instability in the region—and particularly the growth of the Taliban. Though his language can occasionally be patronizing, Lieven's writing is generally excellent. He wrestles huge amounts of material into a coherent whole, cogently explaining the intricate and interconnected roles played by kinship, regional allegiances, religion, and the military, shedding light on the country "in all its complex patchwork of light and shadow." (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 04/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 360 pages - 978-1-84614-160-7
Paperback - 360 pages - 978-0-14-103824-7
Open Ebook - 592 pages - 978-1-61039-023-1
Paperback - 566 pages - 978-1-61039-145-0
Open Ebook - 608 pages - 978-1-61039-162-7
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