This one is less about concrete ideas around India and Pakistan than it is a call to arms (or a call against arms) for everybody to learn more about the topic. The gap between the importance of this conflict and the amount of knowledge analysts, let alone the general public, have about it is vast. India and Pakistan are some of the largest countries on the planet, they have nuclear weapons, and they have the sort unsettled borders and over-powerful militaries that make further conflict more likely than not. Today’s video makes the case for making the region the channel’s next big project.
Video Transcript after the jump…
Hey there! Voting on this channel’s next big project is just about halfway through. If you want to help decide what we cover next, you have until December 31st to sign up on Patreon and vote. Today we will be talking a bit more about one of the options, a series on Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
As a US citizen I of course come to this from the context of Afghanistan. I have wanted to cover our occupation of that country for a while, but it’s impossible to do that without diving into the history of Pakistan and India. The extraordinary waste of the Afghan war is Central to the disaster that is US policy, but when it comes to the region and the future of humanity it’s nothing more than a sideshow.
This insignificance is an interesting return to form historically speaking. Some Westerners love to pretend that we were dominant figures on the world stage for 500, or even a 1000 years. When it comes to India and Pakistan however it was under 200 years. In the 1680s, the British East India Company decided to attack the Mughal empire. They got swatted like flies. It was only in the 1750s that the European presence in India became more than a minor annoyance. The fact that the US’s longest lasting war is peripheral to the real struggle going on in this part of the world could almost be seen as a sign of things returning to normal.
If this region becomes the channel’s new focus, my goal would be to build the expertise necessary to focus on the right things. I would want to finally cover Afghanistan appropriately, but with the understanding that its sufferings are just one minor facet in the titanic struggle that has been ongoing since 1947.
Since independence from the British Empire India and Pakistan have fought a series of hot and cold wars that have determined the physical borders of the continent, and will determine the future of the region and the world. It’s really impossible to overstate the importance of this conflict.
The parallel that most readily comes to mind for me is the conflict between France and Germany. These were two countries that, like India and Pakistan, came from similar cultural roots, yet fought a series of bitter wars over 70 years that ripped apart the continent, and eventually the world.
In the form of the two world wars this older conflict is probably one of the most well known in human history. But when you compare it to the India Pakistan fight, the whole France Germany thing honestly looks kind of rinky dink.
At the height of their conflict, tens of millions of people lived in France and Germany. Hundreds of millions live in Pakistan and India today. France and Germany threatened each other with trenches and tanks. India and Pakistan have nuclear warheads. That European conflict eventually roped in countries with populations in the hundreds of millions . The next war between India and Pakistan will probably involve two countries of over a billion people as soon as it starts.
It’s obviously in all of our interests that that next war never happens. Which makes it all the more important than we learn more about that conflict. We have enough content about world war II. I would like to make some worthwhile content about stopping World War III, in the place where it is currently most likely to start. To do that I need to do a lot more reading.
I have a vague sense of the big events since 1947. But I need a better sense of how the politics of all this worked, and how the politics work today. India and Pakistan aren’t just another two countries. Their size means that they contain another world’s worth of complexity. I hope to address some of the questions here as well as any other questions that come up in my research.
There is a lot of speculation about the economic potential of this region. Is it poised for lift off, or has much of the progress we have already heard about been a mirage? I am eager to look at these questions too. But it’s important to realize that even if these countries don’t get any richer, perhaps especially if these countries don’t get any richer, this is where history is going to be made in the 21st century. We all need to know a lot more about India and Pakistan.
Thanks for watching, please subscribe. Voting has already started, and this region has some real competition. If you want to vote on this channel’s future you can sign up to do so at the Patreon link here, then click on the link to the poll in this video’s description. Thank you!