Sunday, 23 March 2014

Pakistan: A Hard Country, by Anatol Lieven

Why I read it: Economist Review

Podcast: LSE Public Events

Brow: Upper middle, unless you're a Pakistani reading this in Pakistan... well, actually you'd still be upper middle brow to be reading this in Pakistan, since the literacy rate is only 56%.

Summary: It's basically everything you need to know about modern Pakistan, from how the society is ordered and governed to how each region functions both internally and in relation to the others.

But should you read it? I recognise that foreign affairs is not most people's cup of tea, and that Pakistan is very foreign to most people, which allows us to tell ourselves that it's somehow unimportant or uninteresting. But that doesn't mean it's true. In fact, Pakistan is of immense geopolitical and geostrategic importance, and the fact that many in the west try to dismiss it as a mere 'failed state' belies that importance. It also helps that this book is well-researched and full of fun tidbits, like the fact that Pakistan's feudal politicians now complain that they have to convince their vassals to vote for them, whereas once a bribe or even the threat of cancelling their tenancy were enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment