Pakistan: The Garrison State in the Author’s Own Words

Pakistan: The Garrison State, Origins, Evolution Consequences (1947-2011). Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2013. ISBN 978-0-19-906636-0

This study seeks to solve the following puzzle: in 1947, the Pakistan military was poorly armed and lacked the infrastructure and training needed to function as an effective branch of the State. It was not directly involved in politics. Over time, not only has it become a middle-range power possessing nuclear weapons, it has also become the most powerful institution in the country with de facto veto powers over politics. How and why did this happen and what were its consequences? Continue reading “Pakistan: The Garrison State in the Author’s Own Words”

Reflections on Fred Kaplan’s “The End of the Age of Petraeus”

Reading Fred Kaplan’s thoughtful essay, “The End of the Age of Petraeus,” resuscitated long-standing doubts that I had nurtured about the effectiveness of the COIN doctrine.[1]  I am one of those professors Kaplan refers to in his essay, except that I was at the Joint Forces Staff College of the National Defense University, serving as Professor of National Security and Strategy, at a time when the COIN was referred to as “military operations other than war” (MOOTW).  In that capacity, I belonged to the category of “ether heads”–as our students (senior military officers) called us–who believed in questioning, not just the thinking of America’s military leadership, but also their tactics.  When the COIN was being implemented, I was at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS).  My professional responsibilities included participating in a globally-oriented course entitled, Comprehensive Security Responses to Terrorism (CSRT).  As the chief author of that course, I made sure that the topic of counterinsurgency was covered from the American strategic perspective.  As contentious as that perspective was, it was driving the American war in Iraq, and promised to do the same in Afghanistan.  However, unfortunately, I could get only one person from West Point–an active duty colonel who served in Iraq and was also one of the faculty members at that esteemed institution–to attend the course.  He was a strong critic of the COIN operations and, I am sure, was envisioned by the “COINdistas”–as Kaplan refers to them in his essay–as a member of the “red team.”  The distance between Hawaii and the mainland remained one of the chief impediments of having a panel of military types visit us to debate the pros and cons of that highly intricate issue.

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The Pakistan Army’s New Warfighting Doctrine

The Pakistani Army has a new doctrine that would be the basis of its future force modernization and training endeavors.  The decision is depicted by some insiders as a “paradigm shift.”  While the use of that phrase may be an exaggeration, there are two factors that have the potential of resulting in a real paradigm shift, if implemented to their fullest extent.

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