Pakistan should heed Husain Haqqani’s urgent message of reform

Stephen Kinzer in The Guardian:

Pakistan-protest-007Most Pakistani politics is conducted within a narrow spectrum. Politicians spend much time debating the best ways to fight India, or take Kashmir, or dominate Afghanistan, or punish the United States for its real and imagined sins. Now comes a voice arguing that these debates are meaningless in a country that cannot care for its own citizens and is fast becoming a pariah state. It is the voice of Husain Haqqani, a wily veteran of Pakistani politics who served as his country's ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011. During those years, Pakistani-American relations were fraught with tension and mistrust. Haqqani had to deal with fallout from the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and with the arrest of a CIA contractor, Raymond Davis, for the murder of two Pakistanis. His diplomatic skill and dense web of contacts in Washington helped contain these crises and maintain a semblance of partnership in the increasingly poisoned US-Pakistan relationship.

Now Haqqani has published a book exploring the roots of this relationship and explaining how it became so toxic. Its arresting title is Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding. As a trenchant and unsparing account of how these two countries came to mistrust each other so deeply, despite pretending to be friends, this book is unmatched. Its implicit message – the need to remake Pakistan – is even more provocative. Haqqani has been travelling around the United States, where he now lives, preaching this message. Officially he is on a book tour, but it feels like something more. Haqqani is laying out a radically different path for his homeland. His campaign is important not only to Pakistanis, but to all who are terrified by threats to global security posed by what Liam Fox, a former United Kingdom defense secretary, recently called “the most dangerous country in the world“.

More here.