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Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United…

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

by Husain Haqqani

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This book by a former member of Pakistan’s government tells the same story decade after decade, ramping up the reader’s amazed anger each time. The title summarizes the thesis: Pakistan and the US have both been victims of their own illusions about the other (though Pakistan seems to have been much closer to the truth, given how much money and arms we’ve sent to the government). Pakistan has believed that it was so important to the US in the fight against communism, and then the fight against terrorism that was necessitated by the people we backed in the fight against communism, that it could just present the US with a wish list of stuff (often stuff that would be useful to fight India, but not useful to fight the people the US wanted Pakistan to fight) and the US would have no choice but to give in. The US, by contrast, has believed that Pakistan would be pro-US if we pumped enough money and equipment into the government, while instead the government has deliberately fostered public anti-Americanism, encouraged the production of regional threats or at least the appearance thereof, and supported radical Islamists, with the most recent notable example being Osama bin Laden. If you don’t end the book thinking that the US should stop providing any aid to Pakistan at all, I’d like to hear why not. ( )
  rivkat | Dec 18, 2013 |
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"The relationship between America and Pakistan is based on mutual incomprehension and always has been. Pakistan--to American eyes--has gone from being a quirky irrelevance, to a stabilizing friend, to an essential military ally, to a seedbed of terror. America--to Pakistani eyes--has been a guarantee of security, a coldly distant scold, an enthusiastic military enabler, and is now a threat to national security and a source of humiliation."--Dust jacket.… (more)

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