Chronically Under Siege
Satyabrat Pal
THE WARRIOR STATE: PAKISTAN IN THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD by T.V.Paul Random House and Oxford University Press, USA, Delhi, India, 2015, 272 pp., Price not stated
February 2015, volume 39, No 2

Three classes of people trample all over Pakistan, the military dictators and terrorists it spawns with such remarkable fecundity, and the foreign commentators who write books of a terrifying banality that purport to explain why it does so. These are usually sniggering sermons that hold it up to the rest of the world as a cautionary tale, schadenfreude masquerading as scholarship. T.V. Paul’s The Warrior State is the latest hatchling of this sorry clutch.
Paul’s thesis is that Pakistan has been warped and its growth stunted because it placed ‘hyper-realpolitik’ above all other considerations, turning itself into a state that prepared, sterilely, only for war. ‘Since the very inception of the state in 1947’, he writes, ‘the Pakistani elite has held on to an ideologically oriented hyper-realpolitik worldview, as though chronically under siege.’ That is not exactly the discovery of the Higgs boson, but if there is nothing new in the charge, neither is it false. It’s a truth recalled and a point made many times before, simply because that is so obviously the case,and it’s hard to fathom why another book was needed for an umpteenth j’accuse. It is almost as if those who write these books on Pakistan fear the contagion of an evil, against which the incantation of a mantra or a novena earns the believer protection and merit.

Continue reading this review