Book Review: The Warrior State by T.V. Paul

Madeleine Albright once characterised Pakistan as an international migraine. This book by TV Paul does an excellent work of not only diagnosing the reason as to why the Pakistani state qualifies to be called an international migraine but also suggests remedies on how it can cease to be so (but I am so very sure that Pakistani elites would not bother to even condescend to think about them). As the title suggests, he sees the Pakistani state as the Warrior State. (He prefers this term than the often used Garrison state). Some takeaways from the book;

1. Since its creation the Pakistani elite have looked at international relations through the Hobbession prism of war and conflict thereby converting Pakistan into a security state. Further they are obsessed in seeking ‘strategic parity’ with their eastern neighbour, the much larger and more resourceful India. They look at the relationship with their eastern neighbour as a zero sum game and will do anything to prevent India’s rise. So despite all blowbacks that Pakistan itself might face there is no revision of the policy of supporting Islamists and non state actors that wage war with India, seeking to dominate Afghanistan and primacy to military in the national life.

2. Paul characterises the location of Pakistan as a ‘geo strategic’ curse which has allowed it to survive for most part of its existence as a ‘rentier state’, serving the geo strategic interests of the West (mostly USA) and also the Gulf (mostly Saudi Arabia). This ‘rent’ has allowed it to survive without making structural changes in its state structure (as developmental states do to generate resources for meeting the needs of their society and state).

3. Paul also compares other ‘security’ states’ like Taiwan and South Korea and those states where military dominated national life like Turkey, Indonesia and Egypt with Pakistan and analyses reason as to why and how they could get over military domination and move towards developmentalism while Pakistan spectacularly failed (or was unwilling) in doing so.

A very good read indeed. Maza aaya padhne mein!!


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