In 2013 Pakistan ranked 133rd out of 148 countries in global competitiveness. Currently, Taliban forces occupy or attack key areas of the country, and it is perpetually in danger of becoming a failed state—with over a hundred nuclear weapons that could easily fall into terrorists’ hands. In recent years, many countries across the developing world have experienced impressive economic growth and have evolved into at least partially democratic states with militaries under civilian control. Yet Pakistan, a heavily militarized nation, has been a conspicuous failure. Despite the regime's emphasis on security, the country is beset by widespread violence and terrorism. What explains Pakistan's unique inability to progress? Paul argues that the "geostrategic curse"—akin to the “resource curse” that plagues oil rich autocracies—is the main cause. 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 far-reaching domestic reforms that would 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. The book offers a comprehensive treatment of Pakistan’s insecurity predicament drawing from the literatures in history, sociology, religious studies, and international relations. It is the first book to apply the “war-making and state-making” literature to explain Pakistan’s weak state syndrome. It also compares Pakistan with other national security states, Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, Taiwan and Korea and their different trajectories.
T.V. Paul is James McGill Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Montreal, and a leading scholar of international security, regional security, and South Asia. He was director (founding) of the McGill/University of Montreal Center for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS) during 2009-12. His 15 books include: The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World (Oxford University Press, 2014); Status in World Politics (co-edited, Cambridge University Press, 2014); Globalization and the National Security State (co-authored, Oxford University Press, 2010); The Tradition of Non-use of Nuclear Weapons (Stanford University Press 2009); India in the World Order: Searching for Major Power Status (co-authored, Cambridge University Press 2002); The India-Pakistan Conflict: An Enduring Rivalry (Cambridge University Press, 2005); and South Asia’s Weak States: Understanding the Regional Insecurity Predicament (Stanford University Press 2010).
Free and open to the public.