Skip to main content

BOOK REVIEW: “Asia - Search for Security and Cooperation” Book-II

PUBLISHED IN PAKISTAN OBSERVER JUNE 17, 2007

Arguably, major shifts in both perception & priorities can be attributed to significant upheavals in the global and political dynamics, arising, partially from the vestiges of the Cold War, threatened exclusivity of the nuclear club(to the dismay of 5) and absolutely from actions of 9/11.

The emergence of the Asian continent as a globally predominant security concern merits the exploration of its complex, long drawn out regional conflicts while identifying the security/cooperative challenges, the neglect of which will jeopardize global stability given the fragility of a nuclear setting on hostile territory.

And this is what ‘Asia-Search for Security & Cooperation’ aims to do.

Maj. General (R) Jamshed Ayaz Khan is an authority on matters pertaining to regional and International affairs being the head of Institute of Regional Studies(Islamabad) and his second book ‘Asia-Search for Security & Cooperation’ is, in fact, a compilation of newspaper articles and papers, presented at various international conferences.

Taken together, these papers present a systematically independent study of the exigency in addressing a multitude of issues directly concerning the peace, stability and development of Asia in a new millennium. While the premise of the book remains Asian security and cooperation, this theme can be explored separately and on several different levels.

Taking the contentious Indo-Pak relations first, making a strong case for reversing the trend of mistrust & suspicion plaguing both nations is high on the agenda while touching upon the underlying causes of the Indo-Pak conflict; the potentially favorable signs marking an acceptable resolution of core issues since 2004 have also been liberally covered and chapter (11) has been devoted to an assessment of India’s professed level of commitment to the peace process. Chapter 3 presents a cooperative matrix for both countries, at the same time keeping the risks emanating from dissension in a nuclear environment well within sight.

Here, the arguments contending the powerful impact of stabilizing the Indo-Pak region in terms of fostering a surge in economic growth in the both countries while setting off a ripple effect of stability in South and West Asia and regions beyond the subcontinent appear credible and subsequently, the significance of Track-II/back channel diplomacy along side global intervention (where needed) has also been put forth to facilitate the course of composite dialogue. In an atmosphere where talks on core issues have so far remained inconclusive, response to trade and economic cooperation has been more favorable and slow advances have, in fact, been made.

The emerging Indo-US relationship accounts for the visible tilt of US towards a country whose perceived hegemonic designs are as much a cause of regional concern as its nuclear triad aspirations that, in effect, openly conflict with the stated U.S. nuclear objectives.

Chapter 4 on ‘Bush and the Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal’ investigates the U.S. Interest of turning India into a ‘global power’ . We may well attribute globalization with these disturbing but seemingly unavoidable shifts in allegiance as the expansion of global benefits has a powerful appeal and India finds itself in an advantageous position with none of the liabilities of security issues affecting Pakistan of late.

The carving out of a civil nuclear cooperation agreement was unprecedented in that it was done without the involvement of American public or Congress ahead of time. What this growing partnership portends for the Asian region and Pakistan in particular, in terms of preservation of the depth of U.S.-Pak commitment and the expectancy of an even handed approach in the U.S. dealings can only be imagined. Regrettably, both India and Pakistan have been saddled with a nuclear albatross, the deterrence value of which is subject to interpretation.

The Chapter on ‘WMD: Pakistan’s Perspective’ relays Pakistan’s support of a ‘non discriminatory WMD free world’ with a look at the initiatives aimed at reducing nuclear weapons. Though the modernization of the U.S. nuclear arsenal can be blamed for the escalatory nature of the arms race but I will add that the START Treaty and INF Treaty are, in fact, responsible for reductions in the U.S. nuclear arsenal and the unilateral denuclearization of its army. In Russia, the U.S. has so far successfully negotiated reduction of strategic and elimination of the intermediate, although tactical nuclear weapons still remain.

Profiling the major stakeholders in stability stationed within the Asian neighborhood, the book further proposes that the ECO and SCO join forces in creating a greater security and economic bloc to interact with SAARC, thus contributing to the economic uplift of this region. The emergence of EU as a trading bloc serves as an inspiring model of regionalism, one of many, for the Asian region. The growing concern of energy security mentioned in Chapter 8 is given a serious look alongside some non traditional security challenges of poverty, arms/drug trafficking etc . The capability of Iran or Turkmenistan to replenish the declining natural gas deposits of Baluchistan, for instance, remains debatable. Now turning to Pakistan’s closest neighbors,

Chapter 16 presents the strategic benefits of a Pak-Iran partnership in terms of politico-economic cooperation for the reconstruction of Afghanistan , the stability of which is jointly perceived to be linked with the core national interests of both these nations. Also, in Chapter 6, China which is said to ‘overtake Germany in economic output by 2008, Japan by 2015 and U.S by 2040’ , with its ‘sustained economic and strategic partnership’ calls for the strategic readjustment and enhanced cooperation between these two nations

The civilized world is in consensus that global dimensions of terrorism present a unique security challenge threatening the autonomy of concerned nations, so equally important are the areas dealing with Pak-US cooperation in combating terrorism and the ability to forge a liaison that is realistic; more durable and less conditional. Some people point out that the tribal economy is an anachronism and Chapter 14 ponders on the potential effect of introducing development packages in tribal areas in a bid to check the lawlessness; It also makes a clear distinction between ‘Jihad’ and ‘Terrorism’.

That the unequivocal acceptance of a ‘Greater Middle East’ plan by the U.S. garnered mixed sentiments among the Arab States brings up the argument that its success hinges, in part, on engagement of the concerned States in addition to the resolution of key causes of dissension in the Muslim world, specifically Palestine and Kashmir and the intransigence engulfing these issues. The writer argues in the final chapters that if the US can be seen in an objective perusal of the ME political and economic reforms, much less focus will be on the sincerity of its intentions and more on the attainment of mutually beneficial goals. .

Stalling for peace now presages a disaster of global proportions; that much has been established. So keeping the inner complexities of regional relationships within Asia in mind when endorsing a durable settlement of leftover conflicts, the recognition and ultimate acceptance of rising foreign stakes and their stabilizing influence taken with compatibility of ideals might foster a deeper commitment to usher in an era of cooperative defense and comprehensive security.

Images Courtesy of: http://www.stepmap.de/getmapimg.php?id=187236&w=480&m=2

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

BOOK REVIEW: Pakistan: Beyond The ‘Crisis State’ / Author: Maleeha Lodhi

Thanks to Liberty Books for the review copy

Published in Daily Times / Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

Published under the title: 17 Reasons to Hope

“History will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, history will have its revenge and retribution”— from the movie, ‘Good Night, & Good Luck’

A region known for most “terrorist sightings”, a place feared for harbouring medieval mindsets next to progressive thinkers and a nation shunned for having an affinity for nuclear toys. By turns a cautionary tale, an indispensable ally and an international pariah, Pakistan does not fit into any mould — for long. But its name crops up whenever things go awry.

Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’ is a compilation of articles put together by Maleeha Lodhi that countermands the grim prognosis. When Ms Lodhi, who has served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US and UK, acknowledges that “resilience has been part of Pakistan’s story from its inception, obscured by the single issue lens…

BOOK REVIEW: Hira Mandi / Author: Claudine Le Tourneur Dlson

Published in Daily Times Saturday, February 11, 2012

Reproduced on Claudine Le Tourneur Dlson's Website

Translated from French by Priyanka Jhijaria

Reviewed by Afrah Jamal

A programme about Hira Mandi did the internet rounds a couple of years ago. It claimed, among other things, that the sons of the ‘dancers’ reportedly end up as lawyers, doctors, artists — a few join politics and some even reach the military. These outrageous statistics may be one of the reasons the documentary was banned from the mainstream media. That and its primary premise — the plight of the fallen women — would prompt the conservatives to howl with dismay before scurrying off to bury any evidence in the backyard along with other bodies.


Claudine Le Tourneur d’Ison embeds such wrenching moments in a bold narrative where its doomed protagonist can hail the brave new world and its genteel patrons from an extraordinary vantage point. The expedition to the underworld with the unfortunate progeny and the hapless…

BOOK REVIEW: DIARIES OF FIELD MARSHAL MOHAMMAD AYUB KHAN 1966-1972

Reviewed by: Afrah Jamal
PUBLISHED IN THE POST AUG 29, 2007

Books allow people to have their say. Diaries express what they actually meant. Therefore, every prominent personality must stray from the path of political correctness and leave behind a diary. One way to regain an insight into the defining moments of our history post ‘65 War would be through the diaries of Pakistan’s first military ruler and first C-in-C, Field Marshal M. Ayub Khan, who also authored the book, ‘Friends. Not Masters’. The personal lives of public figures are always intriguing; while their contemporaries indict/acquit them on consequences of their actions, diaries give individuals a rare shot at swaying the upcoming generation of juries. Recorded during the uneasy calm before an inevitable storm brewing on the Eastern horizon and Indian front, the entries, spanning 7 years from September 1966 - October 1972, are replete with shrewdness and candor of a narrator who observed the events initially as a key player…

BOOK REVIEW: Food Prints – An Epicurean Voyage through Pakistan – Overview of Pakistani Cuisine

Published in Daily Times / 23 March 2013 under the Title, Food for Thought



Every year an international gourmet festival is held at a local military college that features, among other things, the best of Pakistani cuisine including traditional fare from all four provinces. The event provides a platform where regional delicacies are promoted and diversity can be celebrated. The participants dress the part and proudly proclaim their heritage; the gourmands happily savor an assortment of flavors under one banner.

Having a shared heritage can pose a challenge for anyone trying to determine the origins of a Pakistani feast. Shanaz Ramzi came up with an illustrated guidebook that traces the culinary history of food found on the streets of Karachi and the ancient Silk & Spice route, all the way to the mountains of Kashmir giving Pakistani cuisine some much needed context.



She is a journalist / critic / GM Publications and PR at HUM Network Ltd. and Editor of Masala TV Food Mag. Her …

BOOK REVIEW: Thinner Than Skin

Published inDaily Times (Pakistan) / 23 Feb 2013
Author: Uzma Aslam Khan
Reviewed by: Afrah Jamal



Uzma Aslam Khan is the author of critically acclaimed, award winning books like Trespassing and Geometry of God. Her new novel, 'Thinner than Skin' goes off the beaten track for inspiration. A realm built upon incomprehensible layers of intrigue, violence, fairytales and legends provides the stage. People foraging for a lifeline become the props. And the inevitable soundtrack of radicalism now coursing through every fibre sets Pakistan’s modern heart to an ancient beat.

It is these paradoxes that bring its US-based protagonist, Nadir, along with a German-Pakistani girl, Farhana, on a trek from northern California to the Kaghan Valley. Wesley — the American in the background — is drawn to the mating glacier ritual, which is an actual thing. And their trusty ally/guide Irfan charts the course to their path of self-discovery past majestic mountains and ice encrusted lakes.

Their quest …

BOOK REVIEW: How It Happened

Published in Daily Times / Sat 9 Feb 2013

Reviewed by: Afrah Jamal
Author: Shazaf Fatima Haider

Thanks to Liberty Books for the (temp) review copy

Gwendolen: I am engaged to Mr. Worthing, mamma.

Lady Bracknell: Pardon me, you are not engaged to anyone. When you do become engaged to someone, I, or your father, should his health permit him, will inform you of the fact. An engagement should come on a young girl as a surprise, pleasant or unpleasant, as the case may be. It is hardly a matter that she could be allowed to arrange for herself . . .”
-
The Importance of being Earnest (Oscar Wilde)


Characters chasing ‘happily ever after’s’ are often pulled aside by enterprising elders who try to flag all but the most traditional road to the altar. A fiendishly funny narrative pounces on the retreating figure of Cupid and explores his cultural relevance in the sport they call match-making.

The saga of the Bandian clan comes with a perpetually scandalized, formidable old lady fiercely protective…

VIEW: WOMEN in the PAF: AN ENSEMBLE CAST

PUBLISHED in HILAL (Pakistan Armed Forces Magazine) Feb 2010

By Afrah Jamal

Progressive - Conservative - Contemporary - Professional; separately these terms could apply to any service; together they were reserved for just one - the PAF.

Pakistan Air Force has kept in touch with its roots through its glorious traditions and kept up with the changing times with innovative thinking. Oftentimes, traditions that made it stand apart have also stood in the way of, well - progress. Consequently, the service nimbly skipped past the one proposed change that was going to have a profound effect on the lives of countless young girls and would forever alter the way society perceived their womenfolk.

Before 1994, Lady Officers were a rare sight in the PAF. So rare in fact, that when male cadets donned wigs to represent the female species in annual variety shows, nobody wondered why. By 2010, women have become an indispensable part of the service. While, PAF was no stranger to a woman in uniform, a f…