The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World
Seemingly from its birth, Pakistan has been struggling to build a proper democracy and a secure state. Today it ranks 133rd out of 148 countries in global competitiveness. Its economy as well as its political system both remain static; and both rely heavily on international aid for their existence. Taliban forces occupy many key areas of the country and engage in random violence. It possesses over a hundred nuclear weapons that could fall into terrorists’ hands. Why, in an era when countries across the developing world are experiencing impressive economic growth and building democratic institutions, has Pakistan remained such a weak state?
In The Warrior State, noted international relations and South Asia scholar T.V. Paul untangles this fascinating riddle. Paul argues that the “geostrategic curse”—akin to the “resource curse” that plagues oil-rich autocracies—is at the root of Pakistan’s unique inability to progress. Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has been at the center of major geopolitical struggles: the US-Soviet rivalry, the conflict with India, and most recently the post 9/11 wars. No matter how ineffective the regime is, massive foreign aid keeps pouring in from major powers, their allies and international financial institutions with a stake in the region. The reliability of such aid defuses any pressure on political elites to launch the far-reaching domestic reforms necessary to promote sustained growth, higher standards of living, and more stable democratic institutions. Paul shows that excessive war-making efforts have drained Pakistan’s limited economic resources without making the country safer or more stable.
In an age of transnational terrorism and nuclear proliferation, understanding Pakistan’s development, particularly the negative effects of foreign aid and geopolitical centrality, is more important than ever. Painstakingly researched and brilliantly argued, The Warrior State tackles what may be the world’s most dangerous powder keg and uncovers the true causes of Pakistan’s enormously consequential failure.
“The Warrior State is compelling, thought-provoking, and extremely well written, without the wordiness and redundancy that seem to plague academic works.”
— New York Journal of Books, Feb 2014
“Paul lucidly and comprehensively explains the historical circumstances that led to a dearth of strong political leaders or political parties [in Pakistan] with a democratic sense or commitment…. This sobering study will appeal to anyone interested in the region.”
— Publishers Weekly, November 25, 2013.
“Grim yet thoughtful…. An insightful and harsh portrait of a dysfunctional nation.” — Kirkus Review, December 1, 2013.
“Pakistan and its army sometimes seem to be the same entity. They are not, and no book other than The Warrior State better places Pakistan’s army and the state in their international and comparative settings. It will be essential to scholars of the Subcontinent and of international and comparative politics, as well as all those interested in knowing why this country became the way it did.”
— Stephen P. Cohen, Brookings Institution and author of Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum
“Paul’s success… rests in locating the study of Pakistan in the broader context of political development in the post-colonial world. […] Paul’s use of political theory to explain the evolution of Pakistan makes The Warrior State a very distinctive contribution to the literature on the contemporary subcontinent.”
— C. Raja Mohan, Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation and contributing editor, The Indian Express
“In The Warrior State, T.V. Paul clarifies why nuclear-armed Pakistan continues to neglect all other aspects of development to maintain military parity with India. Even those who disagree with some of his conclusions will find useful his explanation of Pakistan’s insecurities and the policies they have inspired. This book is a valuable addition to the literature on Pakistan’s dysfunction and that dysfunction’s nexus with militarism and Jihadi militancy.”
— Husain Haqqani, former ambassador of Pakistan to the United States and Professor of International Relations, Boston University and author of Pakistan Between Mosque and Military
“The Warrior State is a provocative and insightful review of Pakistan’s tortured politics filled with interesting comparisons to other Muslim and emerging states.”
— Bruce Riedel, Director of the Brookings Institution’s Intelligence Project
“T.V. Paul’s book is a timely commentary on Pakistan’s perennial search for stability.”
— Shuja Nawaz, Director, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council and author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within
“The Warrior State provides an unusual perspective on the links between Pakistan’s army-dominated political system and the weakness of the Pakistani state, looking at the different experience of some other army-dominated countries. A thought-provoking contribution.”
— Teresita Schaffer, retired U.S. Ambassador, Brookings Institution
“The Warrior State is a sadly accurate assessment of the wasteful weakness of Pakistan’s predominant focus on military expenditure rather than its civil economic development, and on preparations for War rather than on peaceful cooperation with its neighbors.”
— Stanley Wolpert, UCLA History Professor and author of: India and Pakistan: Continued Conflict Or Cooperation?
“The Warrior State is an incisive history of Pakistan’s primary national impulse: a holy war that has little resonance or justification in the modern context, but has turned the nation into a fortress that breeds terrorists with the consistency of a factory. Professor Paul’s brilliant study is essential to the understanding of the contemporary world’s most complex country.”
— MJ Akbar, Author of: Tinder Box: The Past and Future of Pakistan
“Paul’s book is well-researched and well-written… His discussion underlying the spectacular success of European and a number of East Asian countries to transform themselves from warrior states of the past into industrial economies and stable democracies of today is superbly written. Thus, it should definitely be studied, especially by Nawaz Sharif’s top advisers, who are desperately struggling to draw up plans to industrialize and modernize their country.”
“The Warrior State is a mentally stimulating and well written account of how Pakistan has become the state it is today… I believe the situation in Pakistan would improve significantly if the leaders of Pakistan and the United States were to read and consider his work when drafting future policies and agreements.”