Trapped in the shadow of the magnificent tomb their grief-stricken father is building for his beloved deceased wife, the emperor’s daughters compete for everything: control over the imperial harem, their father’s affection, and the future of their country. They are forbidden to marry and instead choose to back different brothers in the fight for ultimate power over the throne. But only one of the sisters will succeed. With an enthusiasm for history and a flair for rich detail, Indu Sundaresan brings readers deep into the complicated lives of Indian women of the time period and highlights the profound history of one of the most celebrated works of architecture in the world, the Taj Mahal.
A poignant, bitingly funny Indian satire and love story set in a scientific institute and in Mumbai’s humid tenements.Ayyan Mani, one of the thousands of dalit (untouchable caste) men trapped in Mumbai’s slums, works in the Institute of Theory and Research as the lowly assistant to the director, a brilliant self-assured astronomer. Ever wily and ambitious, Ayyan weaves two plots, one involving his knowledge of an illicit romance between his married boss and the institute’s first female researcher, and another concerning his young son and his soap-opera-addicted wife. Ayyan quickly finds his deceptions growing intertwined, even as the Brahmin scientists wage war over the question of aliens in outer space. In his debut novel, Manu Joseph expertly picks apart the dynamics of this complex world, offering humorous takes on proselytizing nuns and chronicling the vanquished director serving as guru to his former colleagues. This is at once a moving portrait of love and its strange workings and a hilarious portrayal of men’s runaway egos and ambitions.
With each passing day, Pakistan becomes an even more crucial player in world affairs. Home of the world's second-largest Muslim population, epicenter of the global jihad, location of perhaps the planet's most dangerous borderlands, and armed with nuclear weapons, this South Asian nation will go a long way toward determining what the world looks like ten years from now. "The Future of Pakistan" presents and evaluates several scenarios for how the country will develop, evolve, and act in the near future, as well as the geopolitical implications of each.
Led by renowned South Asia expert Stephen P. Cohen, a team of authoritative contributors looks at several pieces of the Pakistan puzzle. The book begins with Cohen's broad yet detailed overview of Pakistan, placing it within the context of current-day geopolitics and international economics. Cohen's piece is then followed by a number of shorter, more tightly focused essays addressing more specific issues of concern.
Cohen's fellow contributors hail from America, Europe, India, and Pakistan itself, giving the book a uniquely international and comparative perspective. They address critical factors such as the role and impact of radical groups and militants, developments in specific key regions such as Punjab and the rugged frontier with Afghanistan, and the influence of --and interactions with --India, Pakistan's archrival since birth. The book also breaks down relations with other international powers such as China and the United States. The all-important military and internal security apparatus come under scrutiny, as do rapidly morphing social and gender issues. Political and party developments are examined along with the often amorphous division of power between Islamabad and the nation's regions and local powers.
Uncertainty about Pakistan's trajectory persists. "The Future of Pakistan" helps us understand the current circumstances, the relevant actors and their motivation, the critical issues at hand, the different outcomes they might produce, and what it all means for Pakistanis, Indians, the United States, and the entire world.
Praise for the work of Stephen P. Cohen
"The Idea of Pakistan" "The intellectual power and rare insight with which Cohen breaks through the complexity of the subject rivals that of classics that have explained other societies posting a comparable challenge to understanding." -- "Middle East Journal"
"India: Emerging Power" "In light of the events of September 11, 2001, Cohen's perceptive, insightful, and balanced account of emergent India will be essential reading for U.S. foreign policymakers, scholars, and informed citizens." -- "Choice"
Al Qaeda is the most dangerous terrorist movement in history. Yet most people in the Americas and Europe know very little about it, or their view is clouded by misperceptions and half truths. If the first rule of war is to "know your enemy," then we have a long way to go. This important book fills this gap with a comprehensive analysis of al Qaeda --the origins, leadership, ideology, and strategy of the terrorist network that brought down the Twin Towers and continues to threaten us today.Bruce Riedel is an expert on the Middle East and South Asia, with thirty years of intelligence and policymaking experience. He was actually in the White House Situation Room during the 9/11 attacks, serving as special assistant to the president and National Security Council senior director for Near East Affairs. He draws on this insider experience in profiling the four most important figures in the al Qaeda movement: Osama bin Laden, its creator and charismatic leader; ideologue Ayman Zawahiri, its Egyptian coleader and principal spokesman; Abu Musaib al Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq until his death in 2006; and Mullah Omar, its Taliban host. These profiles provide the base from which Riedel delivers a much clearer understanding of al Qaeda and what must be done to counter it.Th "e Search for al Qaeda r"eviews how al Qaeda was created and developed, presenting authoritative and chilling background on "The Manhattan Raid," but Riedel focuses more closely on what has happened to it since that awful day. He outlines al Qaeda's ultimate goals, which are to drive America out of the Muslim world, to destroy Israel, and to create a jihadist caliphate larger than the Ottoman Empire at its height. The profiles and subsequent analysis reveal the network's multipronged strategy for accomplishing those goals: - Draw America into "bleeding wars" like the one that drove the Soviets from Afghanistan.- Build a safe haven for al Qaeda in Pakistan.- Develop other "franchises" in the Islamic world that can overthrow pro-American regimes.- Conduct more Western attacks along the lines of 9/11 or the transit bombings in Madrid and London.The book concludes with a strategy for dealing with --and defeating --this most dangerous menace.
In 2007 two former U.S. secretaries of state, a defense secretary, and a former senator wrote persuasively in the Wall Street Journal that the time had come to move seriously toward a nuclear-free world. Almost two years later, the Global Zero movement was born with its chief aim to rid the world of such weapons once and for all by 2030.
But is it realistic or even wise to envision a world without nuclear weapons? More and more people seem to think so. Barack Obama has declared "America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." But that is easier said than done. Michael O'Hanlon places his own indelible stamp on this critical issue, putting forth a "friendly skeptic's case for nuclear disarmament."
Calls to "ban the bomb" are as old as the bomb itself, but the pace and organization of nonproliferation campaigns have picked up greatly recently. The growing Global Zero movement, for example, wants treaty negotiations to begin in 2019. Would this be prudent or even feasible in a world that remains dangerous, divided, and unpredictable? After all, America's nuclear arsenal has been its military trump card for much of the period since World War II. Pursuing a nuclear weapons ban prematurely or carelessly could alarm allies, leading them to consider building their own weaponsthe opposite of the intended effect.
O'Hanlon clearly presents the dangers of nuclear weapons and the advantages of disarmament as a goal. But even once an accord is in place, he notes, temporary suspension of restrictions may be necessary in response to urgent threats such as nuclear "cheating" or discovery of an advanced biological weapons program. To take all nuclear options off the table forever strengthens the hand of those that either do not make that pledge or do not honor it. For the near term, traditional approaches to arms control, including dismantling existing bomb inventories, can pave the way to make a true nonproliferation regime possible in the decades ahead.
In the new world disorder, U.S. forces and military doctrine are being reconfigured to deal with the threat posed by regional powers. This change in military doctrine has resulted from the perceived intentions of various regional powers to build advanced conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction. Gupta argues that such a strategy is a response to the announced or supposed intentions of regional powers rather than to their actual capabilities. He follows the pathologies of the Cold War where the Soviet Union's military intentions were countered without taking into account its actual military capability. The result was an escalating arms race. In the post-Cold War context, continuing such Cold War pathologies not only sustains high defense spending but also leads to losing opportunities for co-opting regional powers into institutional mechanisms for creating a more peaceful and stable international system. In order to study the gap between intentions and capabilities, Gupta carries out an in-depth analysis of the weapons acquisition process in India, Israel, and Brazil. He then uses his analyses of regional power military capability to examine the sort of role that this class of countries can play in the emerging international system.
The rivalry between Japan and China has a long and sometimes brutal history, and they continue to eye each other warily as the balance of power tips toward Beijing. They cooperate and compete at the same time, but if competition deteriorates into military conflict, the entire world has much to lose. The Perils of Proximity evaluates the chances of armed conflict between China and Japan, presenting in stark relief the dangers it would pose and revealing the steps that could head off such a disastrous turn of events.
Richard Bush focuses his on the problematic East China Sea region. Although Japan's military capabilities are more considerable than some in the West realize, its defense budget has remained basically flat in recent years. Meanwhile, Chinese military expenditures have grown by double digits annually. Moreover, that the emphasis of China's military modernization is on power projectionthe ability of its air and naval forces to stretch their reach to the east, thus encroaching on its island neighbor.
Tokyo regards the growth of Chinese power and its focus on the East China Sea with deep anxiety. How should they respond? The balance of power is changing, and Japan must account for that uncomfortable fact in crafting its strategy. It is incumbent on China, Japan, and the United States to take steps to reduce the odds of clash and conflict in the East China Sea, and veteran Asia analyst Bush presents recommendations to that end. The steps he suggests won't be easy, and effective political leadership will be absolutely critical. If implemented fully and correctly, however, they have the potential of reducing the perils of proximity in Asia.