Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Duel or I Love You Ronnie

The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power

Author: Tariq Ali

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. It is the only Islamic state to have nuclear weapons. Its border with Afghanistan extends over one thousand miles and is the likely hideout of Osama bin Laden. It has been under military dictatorship for thirty-three of its fiftyyear existence. Yet it is the linchpin in the United States' war on terror, receiving over $10 billion of American aid since 2001 and purchasing more than $5 billion of U.S. weaponry in 2006 alone.

These days, relations between the two countries are never less than tense. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf reported that U.S. deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage threatened to "bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age" if it did not commit fully to the alliance in the wake of 9/11. Presidential hopeful Barack Obama said he would have no hesitation in bombing Al Qaeda inside the country, "with or without" approval of the Pakistani government. Recent surveys show that more than 70 percent of Pakistanis fear the United States as a military threat to their country.

The Bush administration spent much of 2007 promoting a "dream ticket" of Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto to run Pakistan together. That strategy, with Bhutto assassinated and the general's party winning less than 15 percent of the contested seats in the 2008 election, is now in tatters.

With increasingly bold attacks by Taliban supporters in the border regions threatening to split the Pakistan army, with the only political alternatives -- Nawaz Sharif and Benazir's widower Asif Ali Zardari -- being as corrupt as the regime they seek to replace, and with a newly radicalized movement of lawyers testing its strength as championsof the rule oflaw, the chances of sustained stability in Pakistan look slim.

The scion of a famous Punjabi political family, with extraordinary contacts inside the country and internationally, Tariq Ali has long been acknowledged as a leading commentator on Pakistan. In these pages he combines deep understanding of the country's history with extensive firsthand research and unsparing political judgment to weigh the prospects of those contending for power today. The labyrinthine path between a secure world and global conflagration runs right through Pakistan. No one is better placed to trace its contours.

The Washington Post - Bruce Riedel

;&#most Americans don't realize how much of the Pakistani peril is our own fault. The Duel will anger many in this country but should be read for an understanding of, first, what role America has played in creating this dangerous mix and, second, why many Pakistanis see us as responsible for their problems…The Duel makes a strong case that the United States should back Pakistan's civilian leadership, flawed as it is, in an effort to build a modern Islamic democracy.

Veronica Arellano - Library Journal

In his latest examination of Pakistan, Ali (Conversations with Edward Said) takes on the role of political storyteller. The turbulent Pakistani political landscape is both the setting and the protagonist in this study of a country in crisis. Spanning the rule of Pakistan's founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, to the Bhutto dynasty and Pervez Musharraf's military control, this work is less an analysis of Pakistan-U.S. relations than a tale of the Pakistani people's struggle for political autonomy and representation. Much like an embedded reporter who becomes a part of his story, Ali is not simply a recorder of events. As an active participant in many of Pakistan's internal political struggles, he cannot separate himself from the living history of his home country. His incisive scholarship on Pakistan's inception and subsequent leadership is peppered with personal anecdotes, biting commentary, and forcefully opinionated prose, effectively demonstrating that objectivity is not a necessary precursor to insightful analysis. Although the storytelling sometimes suffers from chronological breaks and the occasional tangent, Ali's passion for Pakistan and its political future ultimately makes his book an engaging (and often enraging) political story. Recommended for academic libraries.

Kirkus Reviews

Harshly critical of the American-backed Pakistani military and deeply concerned with the plight of his native country's people, London-based filmmaker and novelist Ali (Dictatorship of Capital: Politics and Culture in the 21st Century, 2008, etc.) warns of an imminent "conflagration of despair."His narrative moves gradually through the sad morass of Pakistan's history: its bloody, ethnic-driven birth in 1947, repeated dictatorships, entrenched corruption and incipient Islamic radicalization. The fight against terrorism has renewed America's interest in the country, he notes; since 9/11 the United States has pressured President Musharraf to the tune of $10 billion to cease harboring tribal insurgents from neighboring Afghanistan. America's fear that Pakistan is flirting with the jihadists may precipitate more unwanted U.S. intervention, he warns. Ali carefully examines Pakistan's long, troubled relationship with America since U.S. support of the first military dictatorship by General Ayub Khan in 1958. Patrician political leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, father of Benazir, took power during the turbulent period that led to the violent creation of Bangladesh from East Pakistan in 1972; his five-year leadership saw the birth of Pakistan as a nuclear state in defiance of the United States. Bhutto's "removal," according to Ali, was deemed necessary, and his chief of staff Zia-ul-Haq became president. Because it was instrumental in routing the Soviets after their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the author comments bitterly, "General Zia's dictatorship thus became the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the region." Ali considers the tenures of Benazir Bhutto and Musharraf, denouncing both for"clientilism, patronage and corruption on a gigantic scale." The American-engineered political marriage of convenience between the two ended in disaster, and Musharraf's military dictatorship is compounding the country's misery rather than delivering stability. Sage and watchful, Ali considers how the "organic evolution of politics in Pakistan," wrecked by American intervention, might be salvaged. Intense, closely observed commentary on perilous developments in an unstable nation. Agent: Andrew Nurnberg/Andrew Nurnberg Associates

Table of Contents:
Preface     IX
Pakistan at Sixty: A Conflagration of Despair     1
Rewinding Pakistan: Birth of Tragedy     29
The Washington Quartet: The Man Who Would Be Field Marshal     50
The Washington Quartet: The General Who Lost a Country     70
The Washington Quartet: The Soldier of Islam     97
The Washington Quartet: The General as Chief Executive     134
The House of Bhutto: Daughter of the West     159
On the Flight Path of American Power     191
Operation Enduring Freedom: Mirage of the "Good" War     217
Can Pakistan Be Recycled?     249
Index     279

Read also BBQ Bash or Cajun Creole

I Love You, Ronnie: The Letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy Reagan

Author: Nancy Reagan

No matter what else was going on in his life or where he was--travelling to make movies for G.E., in the California governor's office, at the White House, or on Air Force One, and sometimes even from across the room--Ronald Reagan wrote letters to Nancy Reagan, to express his love, thoughts, and feelings, and to stay in touch. Through letters and reflections, the characters, personalities, and private lives of a president and his first lady are revealed. Nancy Reagan comments on the letters and writes with love and insight about her husband and the many phases of their life together.

About the Authors:

Ronald and Nancy Reagan were America's president and first lady from 1981 to 1989.

Nancy Reagan was born in New York, was raised in Chicago, and attended Smith College. During the summers before graduation, she worked in summer-stock theater productions. In New York, she appeared on Broadway, including in Lute Song with Mary Martin. She was signed by MGM, and she made eight motion pictures for the studio before leaving to marry Ronald Reagan. She is the author of a memoir, My Turn.

Washington Post

I Love You, Ronnie...will move, charm and cheer...the letters are models of the genre...revealing Reagan the man.

USA Today

A love story for all ages.

Internet Book Watch

Leo Burmester and Allison Daugherty read this unabridged collection of the letters of Ronald Reagan to Nancy, written from the 1950s when they met up through the 1990s. The dual reading brings these letters alive and paints an intimate autobiographical portrait of the two.

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