Given the signal importance of Pakistan to U.S. foreign policy these days, the lack of informed commentary on the country is striking. This book fills a bit of that gap. Haqqani, a journalist and former diplomat, effectively and cogently argues that three key political choices -- the promotion of religious nationalism, the continual pursuit of a confrontation with India, and an attempt to secure Western (particularly U.S.) support -- have informed both the domestic and foreign policies of the independent Pakistani state. This analytic framework will not surprise most scholars of Pakistani politics. Haqqani's contribution lies in his careful documentation and use of evidence. One of the political choices on which he focuses -- religious nationalism -- may well determine the future of the Pakistani polity, and Haqqani illustrates its deep roots, which preceded the formation of the Pakistani state. The principal architect of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, actively courted the conservative Islamic clergy in an attempt to build support for his cause. The military leadership, which has ruled Pakistan for the bulk of its independent life, continued and expanded on this treacherous policy. The specter of religious radicalism born of this policy haunts Pakistani politics to this day.
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