This book is a very careful analysis of U.S.-Pakistani relations, especially over the last forty years. More importantly perhaps it provides the clearest explanation to date of why Pakistan appears to be so ambivalent towards Islamic extremism as manifested in what Riedel identifies as the “Global Jihad” and the Afghan Taliban movement. Indeed he does a brilliant job of guiding the reader through complexities of Pakistani politics and strategy. He makes clear that Pakistan regards India as an existential threat and treats both the Taliban and al Qaeda as pawns in its deadly game against India.
He does a particularly brilliant job describing the drivers of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate in relation to Islamic extremism, Pakistani internal politics, and Afghanistan. The ISI has a very complex agenda, which the U.S. has not always understood, but which always sees India as an overarching enemy.