No Exit from Pakistan: America’s Tortured Relationship with Islamabad.Daniel S. Markey. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2013.Pp. 248.(Book Review)


In our present times, no two countries have had a relationship more conflicted than the one shared by Pakistan and the United States. Of all the metaphors, similes and examples used to describe this torturous relationship, perhaps none fits more aptly than the one drawn upon by Daniel Markey in his latest book, No Exit from Pakistan: America’s Tortured Relationship with Islamabad. In describing this relationship, Markey draws his inspiration from Jean-Paul Sartre’s play Huis Clos, which is based on three sinners trapped in hell who are subjected to eternal torment by each other. At the very outset, Markey makes it abundantly clear that like the sinners in Sartre’s play, America and Pakistan have tormented each other for decades, behaving “more like adversaries than allies”. But he does admit that while both sides often tell conflicting versions of their relationship, there is an element of truth in Pakistan’s lamentations that the country has been used by America when it suited the latter’s agenda. Nevertheless, the American in Markey clarifies in the same breath that Pakistan has also used America, “dipping into America’s pocket to serve their purpose.”

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