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T.V. Paul
The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World
Wednesday, April 02, 2014, 12:00pm - 01:30pm
The Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Ave. Columbus, OH 43201

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T.V. Paul

T.V. Paul is James McGill Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at McGill University. Paul specializes and teaches courses in international relations, especially international security, regional security and South Asia. He is the author or editor of 15 books (all published through major university presses) and nearly 55 journal articles or book chapters.  He will be speaking on his most recent book, The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Paul was born in the Indian state of Kerala (Mevellor, Kottayam District) and his early education was at institutions in Kerala. He completed his master's in political science from Maharajas College, Ernakulum (affiliated to Kerala University)  in 1980, then worked as a journalist for the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency in New Delhi from 1980 till 1985. During this period, he completed his M.Phil. from the School of International Studies,  Jawaharlal Nehru University. He completed his Ph.D. in political science at University of California, Los Angeles in 1991.

In September 1991, Paul began his teaching career at McGill University where he was appointed as an assistant professor, promoted and tenured to associate professor in 1995, and full professor in 2000.  In 2003, he was awarded the prestigious James McGill chair, instituted in the name of the university's founder. Currently, he serves as the editor of Georgetown University Press’ South Asia in World Affairs book series and on the editorial boards of many scholarly journals. He has traveled widely and given seminars at leading academic institutions worldwide.

Paul has made a number of contributions to the study of international relations, especially broader international security and South Asia. He is especially known for rigorous puzzle-driven scholarship utilizing case studies as opposed to paradigms. He has been a proponent of eclectic modeling which he uses in several of his works. He is also a conceptual innovator and has made contributions to topics such as asymmetric conflicts, soft balancing, tradition of nuclear non-use, and status accommodation of rising powers. His first major book: Asymmetric Conflicts: War Initiation by Weaker Powers (Cambridge University Press, 1994) was pioneering as it addresses a neglected question of materially weaker powers starting wars against their stronger opponents. 

Paul has continued his scholarly contributions in nine edited volumes and over 55 journal articles/book chapters in venues such as International Security, Security Studies, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Review of International Studies, Journal of Strategic Studies, International Studies Review, and Millennium


In 2012, Pakistan ranked 124th out of 144 countries in global competitiveness. Currently, Taliban forces occupy nearly 30 percent of the country, and it is perpetually in danger of becoming a failed state — with more than 100 nuclear weapons that could easily fall into terrorists' hands.  In recent years, many countries across the developing world have experienced impressive economic growth and have evolved into at least partially democratic states with militaries under civilian control. Yet Pakistan, a heavily militarized nation, has been a conspicuous failure. Its economy is in shambles, propped up by international aid, and its political system is notoriously corrupt and unresponsive, although a civilian government has come to power. Despite the regime's emphasis on security, the country is beset by widespread violence and terrorism.

What explains Pakistan's unique inability to progress?  Paul argues that the "geo-strategic curse" — akin to the "resource curse" that plagues oil rich autocracies — is the main cause. Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has been at the center of major geopolitical struggles — the U.S.-Soviet rivalry, the conflict with India, and most recently the post 9/11 wars. No matter how ineffective the regime is, massive foreign aid keeps pouring in from major powers and their allies with a stake in the region. The reliability of such aid defuses any pressure on political elites to launch far-reaching domestic reforms that would promote sustained growth, higher standards of living, and more stable democratic institutions.

Paul shows that excessive war-making efforts have drained Pakistan's limited economic resources without making the country safer or more stable. The book offers a comprehensive treatment of Pakistan's insecurity predicament drawing from the literatures in history, sociology, religious studies, and international relations. It is the first book to apply the "war-making and state-making" literature to explain Pakistan's weak state syndrome.  It also compares Pakistan with other national security states, Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, Taiwan and Korea and their different trajectories. 


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