Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan

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Penguin, Mar 15, 2012 - Political Science - 256 pages
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The leading journalist on Pakistan lays out America's options with Pakistan and Afghanistan in the post-Bin Laden years.

What are the possibilities-and hazards-facing America as it withdraws from Afghanistan and as it reviews its long engagement in Pakistan? Where is the Taliban now in both these countries? What does the immediate future hold and what are America's choices as President Obama considers our complicated history and faces reelection?

These are some of the crucial questions that Ahmed Rashid- Pakistan's preeminent journalist-takes on in this follow-up to his acclaimed Descent into Chaos. Rashid correctly predicted that the Iraq war would have to be refocused into Afghanistan and that Pakistan would emerge as the leading player through which American interests and actions would have to be directed. Now, as Washington and the rest of the West wrestle with negotiating with unreliable and unstable "allies" in Pakistan, there is no better guide to the dark future than Ahmed Rashid.

He focuses on the long-term problems-the changing casts of characters, the future of international terrorism, and the actual policies and strategies both within Pakistan and Afghanistan and among the Western allies-as the world tries to bring some stability to a fractured region saddled with a legacy of violence and corruption. The decisions made by America and the West will affect the security and safety of the world. And as he has done so well in the past, Rashid offers sensible solutions and provides a way forward for all three countries.


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This is a timely book and recounts some of the latest political events and social upheaval that has occurred during the past ten years and how it has shaped Pakistan and importantly, Afghanistan. The title is a bit off-putting since it seems a bit proprietary but overall, the book is a highly engaging and thoughtful summary of Pakistan's future amidst an untenable situation. A Pakistani journalist, Rashid is able to write clearly and eloquently about events that have transpired since the time of the Iraq war and its fallout. The book starts out with a highly provocative and revealing testimony of the American operation in northwest Pakistan that ultimately led to the assassination of Osama bin Laden who was residing in Pakistan and the turbulence that it caused and how it impacted a region that is highly volatile and divisive and politically subversive. It is eye-opening book that is able to make sense of the killings, uprisings, assassinations, coups and changes of leadership that have occurred in Pakistan and Afghanistan and its impact on American forces and Pakistani and Afghan nationals who are subject to a ever-growing dissipation of their national priorities. I highly recommend it not only for its sound diction and clear message, but for its integrity and honesty to reveal the crisis as it stands today and clearly defining the boundaries of the conflict and how it is shaping the future of these countries and also, for Rashid's dedication to the quantitative aspects of the conflict that are truly revealing that makes this book a top book on my international book list. 



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About the author (2012)

Ahmed Rashid is a journalist who has been covering Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia for more than twenty years. He is a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, Far Eastern Economic Review, Daily Telegraph, and The Nation, a leading newspaper in Pakistan. His #1 New York Times bestseller Taliban has been translated into more than twenty languages.

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