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Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad Hardcover – January 11, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press; First Edition edition (January 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815705573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815705574
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Bruce Riedel has written a brilliantly insightful and powerfully compelling book that is a must-read for understanding the perilous situation in South Asia and how America can correct its failed policies. --Tina Brown, cofounder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, editor-in-chief at Newsweek

For a country that hosts al-Qaeda and the Taliban, has nuclear weapons, and will soon be the fifth most populous country in the world, there are surprisingly few good books about Pakistan. Bruce Riedel has now produced an excellent volume on the country that is both analytically sharp and cogently written. It will engage both specialists and the interested public. Essential reading. --Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I know

The U.S.-Pakistan misalliance remains on the front pages, even as the Afghanistan war hopefully starts to wind down. But the war inside Pakistan is not over, nor will it be any time soon. This insider s account of the rise of global jihad and its effect on the U.S.-Pakistan relationship connects the dots for U.S. policymakers and laypersons alike. --Shuja Nawaz, author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army and the Wars Within and director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council

About the Author

Bruce Riedel is a senior fellow in Foreign Policy and the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. A former CIA officer, Riedel was a senior adviser to four U.S. presidents on Middle East and South Asian issues. At the request of President Obama he chaired an interagency review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan for the White House, completed in March 2009. He is author of The Search for al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future, is a frequent media commentator on security and terrorism, and is a regular contributor to The Daily Beast.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Retired Reader on January 24, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a very careful analysis of U.S.-Pakistani relations, especially over the last forty years. More importantly perhaps it provides the clearest explanation to date of why Pakistan appears to be so ambivalent towards Islamic extremism as manifested in what Riedel identifies as the "Global Jihad" and the Afghan Taliban movement. Indeed he does a brilliant job of guiding the reader through complexities of Pakistani politics and strategy. He makes clear that Pakistan regards India as an existential threat and treats both the Taliban and al Qaeda as pawns in its deadly game against India.

He does a particularly brilliant job describing the drivers of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate in relation to Islamic extremism, Pakistani internal politics, and Afghanistan. The ISI has a very complex agenda, which the U.S. has not always understood, but which always sees India as an overarching enemy.

As a genuine South Asia expert with close to forty years experience, Riedel is especially competent at putting the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan in a regional context. This makes the problems of that troubled country much easier to understand. He builds a pretty convincing case that Pakistani co-operation and constructive involvement is vital to turning Afghanistan into a peaceful, viable nation state. He also identifies Iranian interests in Afghanistan that must be factored into this goal.

Riedel is the model of a professional analyst and for this reason the bulk of this book is descriptive not proscriptive. In his final chapters however he does offer some well informed suggestions on transforming Pakistan into a force for stability in South Asia.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. D. Knapp on May 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 'Deadly Embrace' Riedel offers a concise study of US strategic policy in South Asia, specifically the conflict between Western powers and jihadi groups, as well as issues over ISI duplicity and geopolitical issues relating to the US/Nato campaign in Afghanistan.

Overall this is a very good book and I would recommend it to most audiences. My primary complaint, however, is that, like US policy in the region, this book's thesis straddles a rift between providing analysis and articulating strategy.

Riedel's primary argument is that Pakistan's national security complex, ISI, and frequent military rulers have focused on India, not Al Qaeda and Afghanistan, and because of this strategic bent they have treated jihadi groups such as Lashkar-e-Taieba and the Taliban as assets rather than as security risks. This problem is compounded by United States' inconsistent and at times self-contradictory policies towards the country, which Riedel [convincingly] argues has weakened democracy and intensified the very security dilemma the US finds herself entangled in. Effectively, the US is paying rent to fight the roaches in Pakistan, which is creating diplomatic blowback and reinforcing the problem itself.

Reidel's concluding argument, however, is that US policy should attempt to defuse the security dilemma over Kashmir and engage Pakistani democratic groups in order to isolate and defeat jihadist forces in Pakistan.

For all the book's implicit focus on Pakistani-Indian rivalry and it's clear argument that this dynamic encourages Pakistan to ignore or support LeT and other jihadi groups, it does little to explain Indian geopolitical goals in Kashmir, and because of that glosses over important questions in its own analysis.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. F. Brooke on July 8, 2011
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Bruce Riedel has indeed been in the center of the US South Asia and Af-Pak policy making and intelligence gathering community. So, I think, he very well knows what he is talking about especially in this volatile and decisive time when the US-Pakistani relationship has hit a new low point.

After describing a history of Pakistan with regards to its relationship with India, its militant extremists, and the United States, he argues why Pakistan remains an important case and a very dangerous situation which, if let out-of-control, can seriously threat global stability.

At the time when the two countries (United States and Pakistan) are increasingly suspicious at each other and at a time when the American society is turning more and more exhausted and skeptic of its engagement with Pakistan, someone with the calmness, rationality, and experience of Riedel is needed to remind us of the importance and urgency of constant and continuous American engagement with Pakistan.

Riedel is not a judge nor a politician, for he analyzes the case objectively and points out the flaws of US policy towards Pakistan which has helped bring the Pakistani state to this dangerous point.

As a very smooth read and a short book, I think this is the best way for an American citizen to learn more about what is going on in the Subcontinent in order to better comprehend the challenges and decisions we face as we try to put an end to both the Global Jihad movement and the war in Afghanistan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wistera on October 7, 2012
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I bought this book on my Kindle for a plane trip. When I arrived at my destination, I was so enthralled with the book that I could not put it down. A very clear and concise picture of the current situation in Pakistan. The author has extensive knowledge in the region and relates it to the current global threats to America.
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