The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power Paperback – September 8, 2009
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"Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world...Yet most Americans don't realize how much of the Pakistani peril is our own fault. The Duel ... should be read for an understanding of, first, what role America has played in creating this dangerous mix and, second, why many Pakistanis see us as responsible for their problems." --The Washington Post
About the Author
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1416561021
- ISBN-13 : 978-1416561026
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.44 inches
- Publisher : Scribner (September 8, 2009)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,574,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power
takes us from The Partition in 1947, thru the War in Bengal (aka West Pakistan, aka Bangladesh) with a death toll approx 2 million, of course you remember, right?), to the present, and the continuous American support for the succession of military dictators strictly in the interest of a stable government, which finally cost, at least, the birth of that nuclear power.
Who are the people? btw, i learn that the Rolling Stones wrote "street fightin' man" about Tariq.
enjoy, and get ready to tremble...
Above all a consciousness raising book.
I Don't Think So! The Pakistanis and their regimes have to hold themselves accountable.
In my humble opinion, their destabilization has more to do with religion, culture and the mistreatment of women than American usurpations over their regimes, which Tariq Ali discusses in the book, inadvertently contradicting him self, because he tries to place most of the blame on Western civilization/institutions when truth be told the Western powers are only exploiting what they deem a nation state of weak character.
When a nation state that's only 64 years old spends two-thirds of its economy on defense and debt while 70 percent of women and 41 percent of men are illiterate then you have to contemplate that Pakistan has a real problem. Furthermore, nearly 70 percent of the population lives in squalor and abject poverty and these insalubrious conditions need to be dealt with, but to engage in dealing with the situation the Pakistanis must renounces their antiquated way of life. The strictness of Wahhabism and Islam is the main precipice that these people face and the fact that they have been under military rule since it's inception after Britain lost control of the province makes you wonder if they'll ever become a stabilized nation.
In Addition, according to Tariq Ali they still practice stoning women to death and forcing them to marry the Koran in an attempt to keep them from exercising their God given rights. The abuse that the Pakistani women face in many cases is unbearable.
A civilization cannot thrive when it oppresses and demeans its women, which Bernard Lewis demonstrates in his book "What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East." And even though Pakistan isn't a Middle Eastern country it still embraces its philosophy, culture and logic, which is terrifying considering they are a nuclear superpower. Of course, Tariq Ali disagrees with Bernard Lewis' assessment by stating, "An argument often used by Bernard Lewis is that the U.S. has become a scapegoat for the Muslim world to explain its own decline and problems, to put forward this [anti Muslim] argument at a time when the Western military, or economics occupation of the Arab world," is being usurped in countries such as Iraq, it "is somewhat [a] disingenuous" position to take. Tariq also states that, "The founders of Al Qaeda were incubated in Saudi Arabia and Egypt before being dispatched to wage jihad in Afghanistan by Zbigniew Brzezinski (founder of the Trilateral Commission), now an adviser to Barack Obama."
Moreover, as of 2008, Tariq Ali claims there may have been as little as 500 Al Qaeda operative worldwide, deeming them a very minimal threat, if a threat at all, even though President Obama has been assassinating their leaders including Osama bin Laden who was hiding in Pakistan shortly before his demise.
These assassinations could be construed as a violation of international law such as the Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Nuremberg Principals if they were able to apprehend these terror suspects without resistance. Of course, there is speculation, or should I say rumors abound that the U.S. and NATO forces had the intelligence information to apprehend Osama without killing him, but we will never know the truth behind that theory.
The destabilization of Pakistan seems to necessitate the continued destabilization of Afghanistan with Taliban agents crossing the border and reaping continued influence over both countries as Heroin production is at an all time high leaving both countries in dire-straights. President Hamid Karzai (former Unocal consultant) is all but powerless in Afghanistan while his brother Ahmad Wali Karzai is running much of the Heroin trade in that country, neutering any chance of Hamid being a effective leader, if that was ever his objective, which I don't believe it is considering he was placed in power under the Bush presidency.
Overall, there has been four regime changes over the last 60 years from Mohammad Ayub Khan to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who was executed by hanging, and Khaleda Zia who was allegedly assassinated in a plane crash, and military dictator/president Pervez Musharraf who was removed from office when he lost U.S. support.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, but no one is really sure what the motives were considering she was all but powerless during her tenure. The Bhutto clan and the Sharif family were at variance to one another bucking for power with frequent regime changes, but to no avail because of military control and U.S./Western influence. As of right now Benazir Bhutto's husband Zardari is in power and he is favored by the United States, but for how long is the question?
As for India's role in all this, is there a chance that India and Pakistan will go to war and will it be a nuclear catastrophe? Well, as long as the U.S. and Europe continue to ally themselves with both countries the threat is minimal. But is Pakistan really an ally, or is it really a powder keg ready to go off at any moment?
Tariq Ali gives you a lot to ponder upon in this book and hopefully he'll write an update soon as the events unfold.
Overall, this was a good read, but I wish he had a cast of characters list and a timeline set up so his story would have been easier to ascertain and follow.
3 Stars for a good effort.
The subject is fascinating. And I agree with most of the author's conclusions. But this book is so poorly written I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. If it were a PhD thesis it would be tossed back at the applicant.
Looking beyond the sub par use of the English language and focusing on the content, the book is best described as a rant. It's bombast. It repeats itself in a very annoying manner so often that I doubt Ali's editor even read it before pushing it out to the printer. And most references cited in the book point to the author's previously published books, not the work of other analysts.
Isn't there someone out there that could have addressed this important subject in a more elegant and credible manner?
Top reviews from other countries
It also throws some light into the role of our 'western democracies' in creating this infernal mess. All in all a good read as are most of Ali's other write ups.