The book “Pakistan: the US, Geopolitics and Grand Strategies” provides a comprehensive and exhaustive insight on Pakistan’s foreign policy, moving from a recurring perspective that portrays Pakistan’s foreign policy as “exclusively, or even largely, influenced by direct US diplomatic pressure and coercion” (p.1) to one that seeks to provide a detailed account of Pakistan’s puzzled foreign relations.
Drawing on significant contributions by a team of eminent scholars, from both Pakistan and the West, this wide assessment of Pakistan’s foreign policy includes the analysis of some of the major regional geopolitical dynamics underpinning the foreign policy of Pakistan. To this end, the book is divided in two sections: the first addressing the ongoing debate on the nature of and developments in Pakistan-US relations, and the second, focusing on a wide array of Pakistan’s bilateral ties including China, the Gulf States, the European Union, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. The final chapter examines Pakistan’s nuclear issues. Although conceived as independent pieces, the chapters in the sequence presented by the editors provide a coherent and comprehensive analysis of the kaleidoscope of Pakistan’s foreign policy interactions.
This account definitely fulfils its remit of shedding light on some overlooked dimensions in Pakistan’s foreign policy by providing the reader with a timely, well-articulated and in-depth map of the main interactions occurring in the contemporary international environment vis-à-vis Pakistan. The central argument of the book is that “Pakistan’s foreign relations cannot be explained solely as a result of 9/11 or through its policy towards India” (p. 9) but rather by taking into account a wide range of political, economic and military interests that de facto shape Pakistan’s geopolitical attitude beyond the war on terror-centric perspective which dominates the contemporary academic and policy debates. In addition to that, as the editors argued in the conclusions, Pakistan’s foreign policy should be assessed encompassing “larger regional forces at play that have shaped and will continue to shape and reshape Pakistan’s foreign policy” (p. 249)
The merit of this volume is to successfully condense the puzzled and articulated Pakistan’s foreign relations in few pages, hence this book is recommended for politics students, researchers and policy-makers who are interested in deepening their actual understanding of Pakistan’s foreign policy, being exposed to a very intense and informative reading.
An extended version of this review will be published with Political Studies Review in 2014
Filippo Boni is a first year Ph.D. student in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham. His research focuses on bilateral ties between Pakistan and China, particularly looking at how the civil-military interplay in Pakistan is influencing the relationship between the two countries.
Follow Filippo on Twitter @FilippoBoni1