Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding

Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding

by Husain Haqqani

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The relationship between America and Pakistan is based on mutual incomprehension and always has been. Pakistan—to American eyes—has gone from being a quirky irrelevance, to a stabilizing friend, to an essential military ally, to a seedbed of terror. America—to Pakistani eyes—has been a guarantee of security, a coldly distant scold, an enthusiastic military enabler, and is now a threat to national security and a source of humiliation.

The countries are not merely at odds. Each believes it can play the other—with sometimes absurd, sometimes tragic, results. The conventional narrative about the war in Afghanistan, for instance, has revolved around the Soviet invasion in 1979. But President Jimmy Carter signed the first authorization to help the Pakistani-backed mujahedeen covertly on July 3—almost six months before the Soviets invaded. Americans were told, and like to believe, that what followed was Charlie Wilson's war of Afghani liberation, with which they remain embroiled to this day. It was not. It was General Zia-ul-Haq's vicious regional power play.

Husain Haqqani has a unique insight into Pakistan, his homeland, and America, where he was ambassador and is now a professor at Boston University. His life has mapped the relationship of the two countries and he has found himself often close to the heart of it, sometimes in very confrontational circumstances, and this has allowed him to write the story of a misbegotten diplomatic love affair, here memorably laid bare.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781610394734
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 02/03/2015
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 690,261
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.25(d)

About the Author

Husain Haqqani was Pakistan's ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011. A trusted advisor of late Pakistani prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, Ambassador Haqqani is as a professor at Boston University and co-chair of the Hudson Institute's Project on the Future of the Muslim World as well as editor of the journal Current Trends in Islamist Thought. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Boston Globe, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, and more. Follow him on Twitter: @husainhaqqani

Read an Excerpt

Islamabad had been repeatedly asking for F-16 fighter aircraft in the late 1970s and early 1980s; the Reagan administration found a way to grant them, even urging Congress to waive a ban on military and economic aid to countries that acquire or transfer nuclear technology. James Buckley, then undersecretary of state for international security affairs, rationalized in The New York Times that such American generosity would address “the underlying sources of insecurity that prompt a nation like Pakistan to seek a nuclear capability in the first place.” In 1983, the first batch of the fighter jets arrived in Rawalpindi.

But as did the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, so the Soviet decision to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan in 1989 exposed the tensions beneath the surface of the U.S.-Pakistani alliance. Differences between Washington and Islamabad over who should lead a post-Soviet Afghanistan quickly emerged and unsettled the two countries’ unspoken truce. Pakistan, of course, wanted as much influence as possible, believing that a friendly Afghanistan would provide it with strategic depth against India. The United States wanted a stable, noncommunist government that could put Afghanistan back in its place as a marginal regional power. For the first time, the issue of Pakistani support for terrorist groups also became a sore point.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 False Start 8

Chapter 2 Aid, Arms, and Bases 56

Chapter 3 A Split and a Tilt 123

Chapter 4 Picking Up the Pieces 171

Chapter 5 A Most Superb and Patriotic Liar 225

Chapter 6 Denial and Double Game 271

Chapter 7 Parallel Universes 317

Notes 351

Acknowledgments 387

Index 389

About the Author 415

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Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well done, US- Pakistan relations were explained. Just from news media i never understood what has been going on "US-Pakistan relations". he went in to many details  of Pak political history since Pakistan was created in 1947.