U.S.-Pakistan relations have been extraordinarily volatile, largely a function of the twists and turns of the Cold War. An intimate partnership prevailed in the Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan years, and friction during the Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter presidencies. Since the Cold War ended, the partnership has shriveled. The blunt talking to delivered by President Clinton to Pakistan’s military dictator during Clinton’s March 25, 2000, stopover in Pakistan highlighted U.S.-Pakistani differences. But the Clinton visit also underscored important U.S. interests in Pakistan.

The first comprehensive account of this roller coaster relationship, this book is a companion volume to Kux’s India and the United States: Estranged Democracies, 1941–1991, recently called “the definitive history of Pakistani-American relations” in the New York Times.

Dennis Kux is a retired State Department South Asia specialist who dealt with India and Pakistan for more than two decades, serving in Pakistan from 1957 to 1959 and 1969 to 1971. He was the U.S. ambassador to the Ivory Coast from 1986 to 1989. Kux was a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from 1996 to 1997, where he is currently a Senior Scholar.


Edward M. Rowell and Kenneth N. Rogers, Jr.



1. The United States and the Pakistan Movement

2. Truman: Friends, Not Allies

3. Eisenhower I: America’s Most Allied Ally in Asia

4. Eisenhower II: Ike Likes Ayub

5. Kennedy: Alliance Troubles

6. Johnson: The Alliance Unravels

7. Nixon: The Tilt

8. Ford: Enter the Nuclear Issue

9. Carter: The Low Point

10. Reagan: Partners Again

11. Bush: The Partnership Collapses

12. Clinton: Living with a Nuclear Pakistan

13. An Unstable Partnership

Interviews and Oral Histories


“Dennis Kux’s book possesses a wealth of new information, based partly on fresh research in published and archival sources, but based even more impressively on the more than 100 personal interviews he conducted with former diplomats and defense officials in both the United States and Pakistan.”—Robert J. McMahon, University of Florida

“Kux’s study is, to my knowledge, the first full-dress, comprehensive, and authoritative study of U.S.-Pakistan relations. Focused primarily on formal diplomacy between these two countries, it systematically chronicles the major events, deftly handles the primary issues, and sympathetically considers the key political and diplomatic figures on both sides.”—Robert Wirsing, University of South Carolina

“Dennis Kux’s book offers a clear guide to the ever-changing fortunes of U.S.–Pakistan relations. The book is a must-read for anyone who seeks to understand the complex U.S.–Pakistan relationship and the role of this troubled relationship in the region and the world beyond.”—Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering

“This judicious chronicle of U.S.-Pakistani relations from the 1940s to the twenty-first century is bound to be the definitive work on the topic.”—Thoms W. Simons Jr., Journal of Cold War Studies