Book Review: Jan Melissen and Yul Sohn (Eds). 2016. Understanding Public Diplomacy in East Asia: Middle Powers in a Troubled Region

AuthorErin Zimmerman
Date01 August 2017
Published date01 August 2017
DOI10.1177/2347797017710752
Subject MatterBook Reviews
258 Book Reviews
Also, it does not situate Pakistan’s Shias in the broader regional context, while the
ambivalence of Shias towards their role in Pakistan’s formation has received
insufficient attention. Issues related to the estimation of Shia population
and people identifying as Shia to avoid religious tax on Sunnis (an unanticipated
outcome of Islamization drive) are noted in passing. Notable omissions include
the role of Indian Muslim leaders in Pakistan’s sectarian conflicts, the controversy
over the Bhutto family’s (Shia) faith, the burning of the US Embassy in Islamabad
(1979) allegedly provoked by Iranian propaganda, Pakistan’s Shia businessmen,
the implications of the non-migration of leading Shia clerics from Lucknow to
Pakistan, and non-Urdu/English Shia polemical literature.
Notes
1. A similar pattern emerges in Matthiesen’s (2015) study of Shias of Saudi Arabia’s
Eastern Province.
2. Historical factors (e.g., the socio-economic composition of the Pakistan movement’s
leadership) that privileged landlords and clerics in independent Pakistan are beyond
this review’s scope.
3. The book’s subtitle refers to Shias as a ‘minority’, whereas the community sees itself
as a qaum (community/nation/sect/people).
4. Others have noted that sections of Pakistani Shias treated Khomeini as the political
leader and al-Khu’i as the spiritual leader, which possibly limited Iran’s influence
(Fuchs, 2015, p. 201).
References
Fuchs, S. W. (2015). Third wave Shi’ism. In Justin Jones & Ali Usman Qasmi (Eds),
The Shi‘a in modern South Asia: Religion, history and politics (pp. 179–201).
New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Matthiesen, T. (2015). The other Saudis: Shiism, dissent and sectarianism. New York, NY:
Cambridge University Press.
Mishal, S., & Goldberg, O. (2014). Understanding Shiite leadership: The art of the middle
ground in Iran and Lebanon. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Vikas Kumar
Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
E-mail: vikas.kumar@apu.edu.in
Jan Melissen and Yul Sohn (Eds). 2016. Understanding Public Diplomacy in
East Asia: Middle Powers in a Troubled Region. New York, USA: Palgrave
Macmillan. 283 pp. ISBN: 978-1-137-54274-8
DOI: 10.1177/2347797017710752
Understanding Public Diplomacy in East Asia: Middle Powers in a Troubled
Region, edited by Jan Melissen and Yul Sohn, tasks itself with introducing readers
to the presence of, and differing uses for, public diplomacy in East Asia.

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