Pakistan on the Brink

Ahmed Rashid

Pakistan on the Brink

With Bin Laden dead, Pakistan threatened by internal power struggles, relationships between the United States and Pakistan at an all-time low, and as the US and Britain begin their withdrawal from Afghanistan, what are the possibilities-and hazards-facing the world's most unstable region? Where is the Taliban now, and how do they figure in the future of Pakistan as well as Afghanistan? What does the immediate future hold, and what are the choices that Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West can make? These are some of the crucial questions that Ahmed Rashid takes on in this follow-up to Descent into Chaos. He focuses on the long-term problems: the changing casts of characters, the future of international terrorism, and the actual policies and strategies both within Pakistan and Afghanistan and among the Western allies. As he has done so well in the past, Pakistan on the Brink offers sensible solutions and provides a way forward for all countries involved, while the world tries to bring some stability to a fractured region saddled with a legacy of violence and corruption. 3.1 out of 5 based on 8 reviews
Pakistan on the Brink

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format Hardback
Pages 256
RRP
Date of Publication March 2012
ISBN 978-1846145858
Publisher Allen Lane
 

With Bin Laden dead, Pakistan threatened by internal power struggles, relationships between the United States and Pakistan at an all-time low, and as the US and Britain begin their withdrawal from Afghanistan, what are the possibilities-and hazards-facing the world's most unstable region? Where is the Taliban now, and how do they figure in the future of Pakistan as well as Afghanistan? What does the immediate future hold, and what are the choices that Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West can make? These are some of the crucial questions that Ahmed Rashid takes on in this follow-up to Descent into Chaos. He focuses on the long-term problems: the changing casts of characters, the future of international terrorism, and the actual policies and strategies both within Pakistan and Afghanistan and among the Western allies. As he has done so well in the past, Pakistan on the Brink offers sensible solutions and provides a way forward for all countries involved, while the world tries to bring some stability to a fractured region saddled with a legacy of violence and corruption.

Descent into Chaos by Ahmed Rashid

Reviews

The Economist

The Economist

Mr Rashid occasionally overstates his case, for example when claiming that with better rulers Pakistan could somehow become uniquely prosperous. A suggestion that “no other country in the world has such potential to become a hub for trade and business” makes no sense, given the human, environmental and social problems that Mr Rashid spells out so clearly. But his core argument is convincing: that the unaccountable army and spies set rotten policies as hapless and thieving civilian politicians take the blame; the result is that Pakistan grows more fragile, posing still greater threat.

14/04/2012

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The Observer

Jason Burke

Many have covered this ground but few have the same access or depth of knowledge … The detail doesn't always make for an easy read … Unlike many journalists, however, Rashid does have the courage to outline how he believes the catastrophic situation in both his homeland (Pakistan) and its neighbour can be improved.

08/04/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Duncan Gardham

This excellent book summarises the challenges faced by both countries — although the solutions are difficult to see. A former Daily Telegraph correspondent in Pakistan, Rashid has an eye for the big picture as well as a journalist’s nose for detail.

24/04/2012

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The Washington Post

Bruce Riedel

Superb ... Rashid argues that Obama and his team bear the majority of blame for the deterioration in Pakistan because of their failure to work together, lack of clarity and contradictory statements ... But he overstates the impact of the inner White House tensions. Pakistan’s problems are mostly a result of Pakistani machinations and conspiracies. The United States has often made the situation worse by backing generals over civilians, but as long as Pakistanis blame someone else for their troubles, their country will only go further toward the brink.

06/04/2012

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The Financial Times

Anatol Lieven

... unfortunately something of a disappointment. It is well worth reading for its sensible arguments against the containment of Pakistan by the US and in favour of a peace settlement with the Taliban; and for its descriptions of Rashid’s meetings with Afghan president Hamid Karzai and with senior western officials. However, it also shows signs of haste in its writing. It is more like a set of articles, aimed at different audiences, than a coherent work ... Most damagingly, Rashid at no point sets out his own concrete ideas of what a peace settlement in Afghanistan might be.

30/03/2012

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The Sunday Times

Christina Lamb

I admire the usually methodical Rashid, but, disappointingly,my sense is that this is a book churned out too quickly. As well-connected as Rashid likes to remind us he is, there is little here that could not be garnered from cuttings. He claims to have written first about the re-emergence of the Taliban in Quetta in September 2003 — in fact, he could have read the same in these very pages and those of the New Statesman six months earlier. Nor is this the book for anyone hoping to hear what it’s like to live in Pakistan. Rashid rightly criticises the Obamas for not meeting ordinary Afghans, pointing out that Bush and his wife frequently met a variety of Afghans. But Rashid also moves in rarefied circles of policy-makers. Thus we get no explanation why Pakistan is changing, with more and more people turning to conservative Islam — or to the politician Imran Khan, the world-famous cricketer and social worker.

22/04/2012

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The Guardian

Fatima Bhutto

… the book's central fault is that Rashid's teleology is dedicatedly western. And it is precisely this sort of thinking that got us into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place … Pakistan and India are depicted one-dimensionally as paranoid powers unable to consider each other outside destructive paradigms – which indeed they might be, but their populations have long wanted peace, and are currently engaged in many hopeful people-to-people initiatives.

28/04/2012

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The Spectator

Peter Oborne

[After 9/11] Rashid turned overnight from obscure scribbler into global sage … But all this recognition, while well deserved, has had a terrible effect on his prose. Instead of writing very good books, he now writes very bad ones. His Descent into Chaos was ponderous and loaded with received wisdom. This volume is no better. Rashid has ceased to be a subversive reporter and instead has swallowed almost entire the conventional categorisation of the war on terror. Writing in the breezy tones of an astute western diplomat, he does not see Afghanistan and Pakistan on their own terms but rather as inert subjects for western intervention.

14/04/2012

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