Pakistan: A Hard Country. By Anatol Lieven

Yet, argues Anatol Lieven, it is actually a modern, viable and coherent country. With a massive population (one larger than Russia’s) that is two-thirds of the Arab world, a huge diaspora, its own resources and nuclear weapons strategically placed between Iran, Afghanistan and India, Pakistan is of vital significance to the UK.

In this extraordinary, original book, Lieven looks at all the structures, from political, ideological, social and religious, that make up Pakistan. Having interviewed hundreds of Pakistanis at every level of society, from leading politicians and soldiers to village mullahs and rickshaw drivers, Pakistan is a work of profound and sophisticated analysis. In the wake of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, Osama bin Laden’s presence in its unpoliceable border areas, its shelter of the Afghan Taliban, the spread of terrorist attacks by groups based in the country and the UK’s own sizeable British-Pakistani population, there is a clear need to understand this remarkable and highly contradictory place. Indeed, Lieven argues that our current policies are not working – we should move away from the American idea of ‘solving’ Pakistan to a more British plan of ‘management’, through a mixture of aid and pressure. Otherwise, US actions risk destroying Pakistan in the illusory search for victory in Afghanistan.

Related articles

New Government in Pakistan: Keeping the Balance of Power
It appears that the new government of Pakistan in the near future will act according to the line of the previous cabinet in both domestic and foreign policy. The new Prime Minister, Abbasi, has

Expert Opinions
SCO Summit: Complex Geopolitics of the Broad Space
India wants to expand its trade ties in Central Asia and with Russia, and entering the organization alongside Pakistan may well be intended to check both Pakistan and a growing Chinese presence. For

Clifford Kupchan

Expert Opinions
Accession of India and Pakistan to SCO Highlights Organization’s Diplomatic…
On June 9, six leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member-states signed the decree on admitting India and Pakistan to the bloc at their summit meeting in Astana. According

Expert Opinions