Mission Statement

Mission Statement: This blog is dedicated to both political philosophy and application to current issues based on the ideas of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. Additionally, this blog strives to create an atmosphere where intelligent discussions based on the principles of logic, no matter the viewpoints expressed in their conclusions, are not only welcome, but also thrive.

To learn more, feel free to read the introduction and subsequent posts which explain the aforementioned philosophy and purpose of this blog in more detail.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Issues 19: India, Pakistan, and ... Libertarianism?

          An article by the Economist, entitled “The World’s Most Dangerous Border,” asserts that the border between India and Pakistan is the most dangerous in the world, but is overshadowed by the western border with Afghanistan. Despite claims that the solution to the problem is for India to sacrifice elements of sovereignty to solve the problem, I would rather focus on a separate question. Whether that border is the most dangerous or not, a significant question becomes, why? A follow-up that you may be asking is, what does this have to do with libertarianism?
          One of the many goals of this blog is to provide insights within subjects upon which we may agree, not only debate contentious issues. One commenter to the article, sanman on page 3, made a very astute observation that the core issue is the existence of the Pakistani state itself. To summarize, he says that India is not a “real” enemy, but rather one that the military and politicians use to unite an otherwise very different population. The Pashtuns have more in common with their Afghan neighbors, and talk about dismantling the country into its ethnic subcomponents is ubiquitous on the internet. By having a common enemy (India), and a common belief (Fundamentalist Islam), it is easier to unite the country. Those in power then maintain their status.
          So what does this have to do with libertarianism? The first is that the root of the problems may well lie in arbitrarily drawn borders by a collapsing colonial power half a world away. This is not unique to the Durand Line, Pakistan, and India. Problems exist most obviously in Israel, but also between the Kurds and their Iraqi or Turkish nations, among other examples. Without going into too much detail here, it is a very solid example of how foreign intervention, though perhaps seeming wise at the time, led to many important and unforeseen problems. Trying to control your neighbors is just not healthy in the long run (U.S. policy-makers should take especial note of this).
          The second tie-in to libertarianism is something I believe to be an insight—at least, I have not read it elsewhere before. The idea is that a totalitarian country cannot rule a large area with a disparate population like Pakistan. The more you press on the people, the more alienate some who may not agree. To maintain your power, then, you have to come up with some pretty terrifying enemies or some pretty powerful ideas. America, however, was able to expand and govern such a diverse group of people largely because of the freedom allowed to so many. The more libertarian a nation is, the more inclusive it can be. The population will feel more accepted and, in addition to the many other benefits I attribute to libertarian government, will be able to exist more peaceably. It is like the old maxim that to exert more control, you must first loosen your grip.

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