In This Review

Nepal in Transition: From People's War to Fragile Peace
Nepal in Transition: From People's War to Fragile Peace
Edited by Sebastian Von Einsiedel, David M. Malone, and Suma
Cambridge University Press, 2012, 412 pp.

Six years ago, the overthrow of the Nepalese monarchy and a negotiated peace brought the self-declared (but not Chinese-endorsed) Maoist insurgents into government in Nepal. Today, the country is stuck. The parties are deadlocked, the police and the courts are ineffective, and the bureaucracy is corrupt. Despite an agreement to merge forces, the army and the insurgents sit in separate camps, poised to resume fighting. A promised new constitution is overdue. The rural poverty, bonded-labor practices, and social and political exclusion of ethnic and caste minorities that sparked the insurgency remain unaddressed. Some benefit was gained from international aid efforts and two now-terminated UN missions, one focused on human rights and the other on peace monitoring -- but not enough to create momentum. Nepal’s giant neighbors, China and India, contend for strategic position with little concern for Nepal’s complex internal problems. The book’s deeply informed contributors from the diplomatic, nongovernmental organization, academic, and journalistic worlds look hard for rays of hope, but they find few.