Friday, December 30, 2011

"The Pakistan-US Conundrum"

New from Columbia University Press: The Pakistan-US Conundrum: Jihadists, the Military and the People–The Struggle for Control by Yunas Samad.

About the book, from the publisher:
Yunas Samad’s trenchant analysis of contemporary Pakistan illuminates five key players: the country’s people, army, Islamists, and politicians, and the American forces struggling to maintain Pakistan’s social and political stability. Samad describes the alliances borne of political and strategic expediency that continually undermine the legitimacy of the state, and he measures the extent to which the country’s existence is now in jeopardy.

Much of Pakistan operates under the de facto rule of an indigenous, “Pakistani” Taliban. Yet instead of addressing this precarious situation, Pakistan’s remaining military and intelligence apparatus remains focused on a proxy war with India, whether in Kashmir or Afghanistan. This high-stakes contest for strategic and political victory has irreparably harmed Pakistan’s economy, impoverishing many of its people while bolstering the military’s “state within a state elite.” At the same time, a tiny business contingent continues to flourish on the rich pickings of neoliberal policies enacted at the request of international organizations.

Samad follows these provocative issues in detail before returning to his key themes: the mistreatment of ordinary Pakistanis by military and civilian rulers, the steady decline of citizens’ material circumstances over the past twenty years or more, and the grand designs of Islamabad and Washington that continue to undermine Pakistani political life while ushering in new forms of Islamist and sectarian politics.