The Warrior State

ISBN 9780199401352
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Seemingly from its birth, Pakistan has been struggling to build a proper democracy and a secure state. Today it ranks 133rd out of 148 countries in global competitiveness. Its economy as well as its political system both remain static and both rely heavily on international aid for their existence. Taliban forces occupy many key areas of the country and engage in random violence. In The Warrior State, noted International Relations and South Asia scholar T. V. Paul untangles this fascinating riddle. Paul argues that the 'geostrategic curse'—akin to the 'resource curse' that plagues oil-rich autocracies—is at the root of Pakistan's unique inability to progress. Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has been at the centre of major geopolitical struggles: the US-Sovietrivalry, 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, their allies, and international financial institutions with a stake in the region. The reliability of such aid defuses any pressure on political elites to launch the far-reaching domestic reforms necessary to 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. In an age of transnational terrorism and nuclear proliferation, understanding Pakistan's development, particularly the negative effects of foreign aid and geopolitical centrality, is more important than ever. The Warrior State is painstakingly researched and has brilliantly argued these points.