Know your enemy. That's the oldest maxim. Its easy for an average Indian to foam at the mouth when the word Pakistan is mentioned and its continuous acts of perfidy. But in the eyes of Pakistan and its Army it has always won all the wars, it initiated against India. While the average Indian may wonder how is that, Christine Fair goes in depth and explains why it is so, what is the historical basis on which this theme recurs, why America is seen as the biggest villain in Pakistani history in spite of its earlier support, etc.
With extensive documentation including Pakistani Army journals and the "Green Book" which is extensively quoted , Fair shows that as far as Pakistan is concerned it is right and whatever it does is the "correct way of doing things in the context of Islam" as it sees itself as the first and last bastion of Islam . The civil-military disconnect is also examined in detail and it's clear that the Army has time and again projected itself as the one and only alternative when it comes to leadership.
Though not an easy read, I would still ask the average person to go through right to the end and understand the main reason as to why the Pakistani Army has repeatedly indulged in misadventures and still calls them a victory in spite of the world believing otherwise.
This is a masterly work from a scholar and heavily recommended for anyone who wants to know about the topic.
Meticulously researched and sometimes too much academic, Fair's analysis explains most of the Pakistan's irrational decisions since independence. Contrary to my expectation, the book is not just about Pak army. It also touches upon other important historical issues which remain relevant today - like the circumstances of Pak's creation, legacy of British Raj and British policies, nuclear proliferation, relationship with Afghan, US and China. Fair contrasts historic events and Pak's way of seeing them.
One of my favorite parts was when Fair writes about US teaching Pak how to tackle communist guerrilla warfare in the 1960s. Pak analysts start thinking how they will use the same guerrilla techniques to 'liberate' what they see as 'India occupied Kashmir'.
Fair also discusses the various kinds Islamist terrorist groups operating in Pakistan. They are not an monolithic entity, are not centrally organised and not all are state/ISI controlled. She debunks the popular myth and shows that Pak state's use of Islamist terror proxies precedes the Soviet invasion and US/Saudi financing. Her conclusions, backed up by solid research - are not something to be happy about. Nuclear-ised Pak's civilisational hatred for 'Hindu' India, will lead to many more conflicts/terrorist attacks in future.
Shortcomings of this book: doesn't elaborate on Pak's relations with China and Gulf Monarchies. Gulf Princes have been buying land, bailing out Pak, providing refuge to exiles, hunting endangered birds, and talk about renting Pak's nuke to balance Israel or Iran's nukes. Also, it does not talk about how Pak army has become a landowning class and has wide business interests. Not all Pak officers spend time thinking about strategic issues.
Took one * because of Amazon's amazing delivery service, sending the product via India Post. I don't live in Central Africa but it took them 25 days to deliver this.
I enjoyed reading this book. As an Indian reader I find this book very interesting. It's incredible how a foreign (American ) author has done so much research to try and understand the various geopolitical issues of Pakistan and the sub continent. This book gives brilliant insights into various stakeholders within Pakistan send their ideologies. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the geoplotics of south asia and most importantly the pakistani army and various religious organisations within Pakistan.
If at all there is a definitive book that delves deep into the psyche of the Pakistan army and lays it is bare, it is this one. What surprised me about the book is that a lot of documents that the author refers too are readily available but few (none?) have taken note of them. The book is a fantastic analysis of not only the strategic vision of the Pakistan army but also the underpinnings of Pakistan's political vision. Dr Fair does a fabulous job of diving deep in the ownership mentality of the Pakistan army that has appropriated Pakistan the country for seventy odd years now. It also lays bare the divergent paths of India and Pakistan post-partition and explains easily how Pakistan never quite got it!
My only gripe with the book is that it is way too 'heavy' for the 'lay' reader. With some fine editing Dr Fair could have made it a tad more palatable for us non-academics/experts. I guess I could overlook this one easily. I'd recommend Husain Haqqani's 'Magnificent Delusions' as a much more readable and engaging book.
This is a MUST read book regarding the Pakistan Army its background and developments after PARTITION thus giving an idea why it is not interested in development of relations with India on the lines of US and Canada. The important need to know and develop a both TACTICAL and Strategic responsess to its actions in supporting and encouraging TERRORISM
I am impressed by the level of research the author has done for this work.She has such a detailed insight into the making of collective mindset of Pakistan Army.For an outsider,it is always difficult to comprehend why Pakistan is so negatively focused towards its bigger neighbor.After reading her,I am further convinced (as Author seems to conclude) that even some concessions by India on territories in Kashmir will not solve the problem of anti-India mindset of Pakistan Army.On the other hand,It shall whet their appetite further.So the malaise is much deeper.In the interests of humanity,I wish that better sense prevails in the long run in Pakistan,by some divine intervention.
An excellent exposition of Pakistan's treacherous Policy towards India. Clearly enunciates the principle that a solution to the Kashmir problem will not solve the eternal hatred that Pakistan Policy makers have towards India.