Cohen’s Idea of Pakistan

Beyond Allah, Army and America

This book examines the factors contributing to state failure and asks whether the dual identities of Pakistan—created as a homeland for Indian Muslims and as the world’s first modern “Islamic” state—are viable in today’s world. It investigates Pakistan’s distinctive political and social institutions, notably military rule, and sets out a range of possible “futures” for what will soon become the world’s fourth most populous state. Finally, Cohen scrutinizes evidence indicating a reversal of the prevailing trend of decline in Pakistan, and considers whether it is possible for this country to fulfill its promise of joining the community of nations as a functioning partner. [Brookings]

The author contends Pakistan’s army is strong enough to prevent state failure, but not imaginative enough to impose the changes that might transform the state.

The book concludes that before writing Pakistan off as the hopelessly failed state that its enemies believe it to be, Washington may have one last opportunity to ensure that this troubled state will not become America’s biggest foreign policy problem in the last half of this decade. [DT]

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