• Title: War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet
  • Author: Eric Margolis
  • Released: 2000-02-10
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 272
  • ISBN: 0415927129
  • ISBN13: 978-0415927123
  • ASIN: 0415927129
From Publishers Weekly Beginning with the premise that South Asia is one of the most combustible regions on the planet (a 1993 CIA study rated Kashmir as the most likely place for a nuclear war to begin), veteran foreign correspondent Margolis goes poking around the region, wondering where the spark will originate, discussing Afghanistan (especially the heavy American and Pakistani involvement in the area), the border conflicts in Kashmir and Siachen between India and Pakistan, and China's occupation of Tibet, which he sees as a model for how China might come into bloody conflict with India. The book is good on military issues and useful as a primer for the uninitiated, especially on the way that British, American and Russian policies have fueled the arms and territory battles in Afghanistan and on what India's and Pakistan's battling has cost them in lost social and economic development. But the author's fondness for generalities and potted psychologizing can be wearying: Muslim Kashmiris are "a haughty lot," Sikhs are known for their "love of revenge," the leaders of the Afghan Army suffer from a "deficit in human talent that afflicts so many backward societies." Margolis even devotes a page to the proposition that Hindu anti-Muslim sentiment is partly due to Hindus feeling sexually inferior to Muslims since Islam "encourages a robust sex life" and some Indians believe that Muslims are better lovers because they are circumcised. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Having reported for years from the Khyber Pass and the Karakoram and Himalayan ranges, journalist Margolis here distills his experience with the geopolitics of this forbidding region. To outsiders, it might seem perplexing that Pakistan, India, and China should have fought wars over uninhabitable mountains, a bewilderment Margolis dispels by explaining the stakes in Kashmir and Tibet as viewed from Islamabad, New Delhi, and Beijing. It may seem bizarre that the battlefield, at 16,000 feet of elevation, is on the Siachen Glacier, where hypoxic, frostbitten Indians and Pakastinis regularly lob shells at each other. The author's explanation makes it more understandable strategically, for he who controls the glacier controls the only Pakistan-China road. Convinced that Hindu-Muslim animosities will again erupt in war, Margolis describes the tension between China and India, played out in their nascent nuclear and naval arms races. Combining vignettes of his travels (including to Lhasa) with strategic summaries, Margolis usefully draws attention to hot spots some believe are the most likely to set off a nuclear war. Gilbert Taylor

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