The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World

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Seemingly from its birth, Pakistan has teetered on the brink of becoming a failed state. Today, it ranks 133rd out of
148 countries in global competitiveness. Its economy is as dysfunctional as its political system is corrupt; both rely
heavily on international aid for their existence. Taliban forces occupy 30 percent of the country. It possesses over a
hundred nuclear weapons that could easily 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 been
such a conspicuous failure?

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 and their allies 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. Indeed, despite the regime's emphasis on security, the country continues to be beset by widespread
violence and terrorism.

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.


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