The two must-read books on Pakistan

Anatol Lieven, Pakistan: A Hard Country.

Christophe Jaffrelot, The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience.

They won’t make my best of the year list, because neither is fresh out, but they are two of the best books I have read this year, Lieven being a reread.


China's belt and road has two paths from northern China to Europe, one land-bound through the countries north of Pakistan and on to the west through Turkey and beyond. The other route sea-bound through the heart of Pakistan south to the Arabian Sea and around the Arabian Peninsula and then north up through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. Why would China give Pakistan such a prominent place in its belt and road initiative? I don't know but it suggests that Cowen's obsession with Pakistan has merit.

To aid the development of western China, deploy capital for SEOs and for insurance against sea lanes being closed.

Strange that hours after Trump's tweet pulling out of Syria, the Turks immediately start bombing the Kurds in northern Syria. Why did Trump betray our most reliable ally in the Middle East? One official on the call said Trump got rolled by the Turks, that he lacked a spine. He betrayed the Kurds and got nothing in return. Art of the Deal.

The situation is not that simple.

Read Trump's tweets to understand.
Trump is right about Syria. We accomplished what we went there for and now we will pull back.

The Kurds will be wiped out, after helping us for decades and being our only reliable ally in the region.

You dummies never stop bleating about Obama and Libya...well, this one's not on Obama.

The Kurds will align with someone else and survive. But regardless of what the Kurds do why should we stay in Syria?

The term "ally" is bandied around too loosely. Kurds are not treaty allies of the US, but the Turks are as NATO members. The Kurds were allies of convenience, and are now no longer convenient. The Intercept counted, this is only the eight betrayal of the Kurds by the US. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn at no other".

The first book, Pakistan: A Hard Country is brilliant

You should also check out Breaking the Curfew by Emma Duncan, currently the Economist's social policy editor. Written 30 years ago but still be of the best books on the country.

We know that Tyler loves to discuss NBA basketball and China. No mention of the Daryl Morey situation?

I want Trump to say something to protect the Apples, NBAs and the HKers from the predatory government of China but Trump is the worst ally you could possibly have. Trump pulls out of Syria and now the Turks are bombing our former Kurdish allies. The same Kurds that helped us against Saddam, al-Assad, and ISIS are at the receiving end of bad Trumpian foreign policy. If you find Trump on your side, know that it is temporary and he will betray you when he finds a better deal for himself. Foreign policy is not real estate nor reality TV.

I know how I would deal with this situation if I had a few nuclear weapons.

Someone is always unhappy.

How many Kurds will die this week because Turkey let Trump build Trump Tower Istanbul? The utter corruption of this administration is despicable.

We can protect people from themselves.

A Case of Exploding Mangoes is the best book on Pakistan, by far.

Tyler wants to generate a lot of discussion and controversy (read TRP) between MR followers from Pakistan and India.

Other good reads on Pakistan -
1. Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War by Christine Fair
2. Military, Inc. - Inside Pakistan's Military Economy

The second one was quite a revelation. It discusses the numerous businesses that the Pakistani army is involved in, including selling breakfast cereals and other food products, manufacturing fertilisers and running schools.

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