From Publishers Weekly
Mistrust and cross-purposes characterize relations between Pakistan and the U.S., writes Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S from 2008 to 2011 and now a Boston University professor, in this insightful if disturbing history. During the bloodshed of 1947, India's forces drove Pakistan from Kashmir, a Muslim majority region that, theoretically, belonged to Muslim Pakistan. Obsession over Kashmir's loss persists, creating a virtual permanent war with India; civil government remains subservient to the military, which absorbs most of Pakistan's revenue, leaving little for economic development. Pakistani leaders quickly requested U.S aid, trumpeting their anticommunism. America responded modestly but generously after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and massively after 9/11. Pakistan spends the bulk of its resources facing India—American leaders accept this as the price of cooperation but gnash their teeth over Pakistan's tepid enthusiasm for our war on terror. Pakistan's generals have no love for al-Qaeda but have long supported the Afghan Taliban and would prefer them to the present government. Making it clear why he is persona non grata in his homeland, Haqqani concludes that military aid has undermined Pakistan's democracy, converting it into a rentier state living off American money rather than its people's productivity. Agent: the Wylie Agency. (Nov.)
Declan Walsh, New York Times
Patriotism, lies and wrenching disappointment are the interweaving coils of Magnificent Delusions,” a sweeping survey of the tumultuous relations between Washington and Islamabad since Pakistan’s founding in 1947. Since the American commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, the alliance between the two countries has been sickly, with a racing pulse but little heart. Mr. Haqqani’s scholarly history suggests that the condition is genetic, rooted in the very DNA of their relationship.”
Mark Moyer, Wall Street Journal
[Haqqani’s] purpose isn't to narrate his service as ambassador or score political points but to outline the contours of American relations with Pakistan over time, with a final chapter depicting the 2011 collapse as a new instance of historical trends. While one might desire a fuller accounting of his ambassadorship, the book covers its chosen ground superbly.”
Richard Leiby, Washington Post
A solid synthesis of history, political analysis and social critique."
Kapil Komireddi, Daily Beast
"The most clear-eyed history of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship yet published...Not only should Haqqani’s book be read by everyone with an interest in Pakistan; it ought be compulsory reading for members of Congress and officials at the State Department."
Michael Kugelman, Foreign Policy
"Impeccably researched, with an overwhelming reliance on primary sources -- thereby making its often controversial findings impossible to dispute. The book's tone is strikingly restrained, subjective yet never polemical. This is admirable, given that its author's public service career has been damaged, if not destroyed, by the toxic nature of his subject."
Explains from the inside how successive Islamabad governments have demanded money and weapons from Washington while simultaneously promoting Islamic extremism to the detriment of both the US and Pakistan.”
Lisa Curtis, National Interest
If you want a better understanding of why U.S. policy has failed so miserably in Pakistan, you should read Husain Haqqani’s latest book
Fast-paced and highly readable
Haqqani has provided a well-documented and interesting account of the policy disconnects between the United States and Pakistan. His book should make a tremendous contribution toward grounding U.S. policy toward Pakistan in more realistic assumptions that will help avoid future crises between the two countries.”
Jeffrey Goldberg, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
"The questions Haqqani answers in this bookamong them, Why do Pakistan and the United States perpetually careen from one crisis to another?should make it indispensable reading for U.S. Presidents and secretaries of state.”
Kirkus Reviews, *starred* review
[An] insightful, painful history of Pakistani-American relations
Demonstrating no mercy to either party, Haqqani admits that Pakistan verges on failed-state status but shows little patience with America’s persistently shortsighted, fruitless policies.”
Haqqani uses his wealth of personal experience to present a detailed account of the genesis and evolution of U.S.-Pakistani relations over the last 60 years
The book is a useful resource for academics, journalists, and policymakers at all levels.”
Insightful if disturbing... Making it clear why he is persona non grata in his homeland, Haqqani concludes that military aid has undermined Pakistan’s democracy, converting it into a rentier state living off American money rather than its people’s productivity.”
The book is part memoir, part searing indictment of Pakistan’s flawed strategy of using jihadis to secure its strategic space
[Haqqani proves] himself to be a diligent and tireless researcher who backs up almost every stinging commentary on Pakistan’s journey since independence to the present day, with fact.”
Magnificent Delusions provides a fascinating insider’s account of America’s important but troubled relationship with Pakistan. Ambassador Haqqani’s purpose is not to fix blame, but to explain how two countries that have for 60 years described themselves as allies can nevertheless misunderstand each other thoroughly and repeatedly. Richly-detailed, this skillfully written narrative will enlighten scholars, entrance average readers, and give future diplomats much to contemplate. It is a timely, valuable and objective book.”
Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute
"This is a must-read book for anyone who seeks to understand geopolitics in the 21st century. Husain Haqqani provides a riveting insider's account of the complex, and critically important relationship between America and Pakistan. He knows both countries well, and his personal insights and objective analysis can help dispel the misunderstandings that are so dangerous."