Deadly Embrace

Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad

To read about and purchase the revised edition of Deadly Embrace »

In the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. special forces in Pakistan, all eyes are turned to the relations and tensions between the two nations. Pakistan and the United States have been locked in a deadly embrace for decades. Successive American presidents from both parties have pursued narrow short-term interests in the South Asian nation, and many of the resulting policies proved counterproductive in the long term, contributing to political instability and a radicalized public. This background has helped set the stage for the global jihad confronting much of the world today.

In Deadly Embrace, Bruce Riedel explores the forces behind these developments, explaining how and why the history of Pakistan-U.S. relations has unfolded as it has. He explains what the United States can do now to repair the damage and how it can avoid making similar mistakes in dealing with extremist forces in Pakistan and beyond.

Riedel is one of America’s foremost authorities on U.S. security, South Asia, and terrorism, and he helped to craft President Obama’s 2009 speech referring to the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands as the “most dangerous region of the world.” He follows up The Search for al Qaeda, his influential 2008 analysis of the terror network’s ideology and leadership, with a sober, authoritative, and sometimes alarming look at the history, importance, and current role of Pakistan,epicenter of the global jihad movement, beginning with the history of U.S.-Pakistan relations since the partitioning of the subcontinent in 1947.

The relationship between Pakistan and America is a fascinating yet muddled story, meandering through periods of friendship and enmity, symbiosis and distrust: it’s no wonder that people in both nations are confused. Deadly Embrace explains how the United States, on several occasions, actually helped the foes of democracy in Pakistan and aided in the development of the very enemies it is now fighting in the region. The book seeks to unravel this paradox, revealing and interpreting the tortuous path of relations between two very different nations, which remain, in many ways, stuck with each other.

Praise for the book:

"Bruce Riedel has written a brilliantly insightful and powerfully compelling book that is a must-read for understanding the perilous situation in South Asia—and how America can correct its failed policies."
—Tina Brown, cofounder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, editor-in-chief at Newsweek

"For a country that hosts al-Qaeda and the Taliban, has nuclear weapons, and will soon be the fifth most populous country in the world, there are surprisingly few good books about Pakistan. Bruce Riedel has now produced an excellent volume on the country that is both analytically sharp and cogently written. It will engage both specialists and the interested public. Essential reading."
—Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I Know

"The U.S.-Pakistan misalliance remains on the front pages, even as the Afghanistan war hopefully starts to wind down. But the war inside Pakistan is not over, nor will it be any time soon. This insider’s account of the rise of global ‘jihad’ and its effect on the U.S.-Pakistan relationship connects the dots for U.S. policymakers and laypersons alike."
—Shuja Nawaz, author of Crossed Sword: Pakistan, Its Army and the Wars Within and director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council

"On a scale of one to ten of the toughest and most complex policy challenges facing the U.S. anywhere in the world, Pakistan is a fifteen. In Deadly Embrace, Bruce Riedel offers us great insight, sound advice, and some hope that this challenge can be met. Our nation’s security depends on it."
—Karl Inderfurth, Elliott School of International Relations at George Washington University, and former U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs