In Zachary Keck’s article “Ghost of Imperial Past: How Colonialism Still Haunts the World Today” The National Interest, February 4, 2015, he reports on the powerful speech given by a former British MP Micheal Ancram, who depicts the prevalence of colonial impacts in our global society today that have been marked predominantly from the result of arbitrary post-colonial borders. To demonstrate his point, Ancram provides several different examples that highlight the lasting impacts of imperialism and colonialism.
First, Ancram recognizes the failure of British government to adequately solve the Kashmir crisis between India and Pakistan. This has caused for these two countries, both with nuclear weapon capability, to be in a consistent battle with one another over an issue that occurred six decades ago, which continues to deteriorate both their economies and their countries social well being. Additionally, Acram sheds light on the dangerous consequences that come from the divisional borders between British India, today identified as Pakistan, and Afghanistan, which is known as the Durand line. Many proxy wars have been the result of disagreements over the territorial disputes surrounding the definitive limits of the Durand line. Even further, the consequences and effects of the Durand line conflict goes beyond these two countries, because it hosts many terrorist groups that pose a big threat to the international community, such as ISIS. Finally, Ancram accounts for all the major disputes over international borders by different political, religious and terrorist groups in the Middle East, such as the Asia Minor Agreement, as being primarily caused by the subjective division of various regions, cultural groups (i.e. Kurds) and the grouping of religious rivals (i.e. Shia and Sunni).
In class we have discussed several empires and colonies, such as the Roman empire, the distinct Islamic empires and British colonies. I believe that an imminent theme between all the imperial and colonial powers is the lack of stability their colonies or imperial regions had. Eventually there is always a revolt either from the submissive group to regain the regions independence, or a competitive group who also had a self invested interest in that region. An example of a rebellion, was the Indian Mutiny, also know as India’s first war of independence against the British rule. Therefore, due to the conquest and collapse of many major Islamic empires back in the time (e.g. ottoman empire, Mughal empires), the instability and consistent turmoil of the Middle East region that has been outlined throughout Kecks article is not to be unexpected.
I found this article very interesting because it nicely encapsulates many of the critical conflicts that countries presently face due to imperialism and colonialism. However, it also demonstrates how these tensions impact the international community and are not only concentrated within the certain region. I think these effects are even further strengthened due to our globalized society, and the invasion of imperial powers to expand their territories without regard to cultural and religious groups are the long term consequences that the regions must face today. Ironically, those who created the mess no longer exist as the imperial power to take responsibility for their actions. I believe that the solution of “parity of esteem” that Michael Ancram suggests to overcome these struggles could have been achieved. However, there has been too many wars and blood shed among the rival groups that has caused increased tension, resentment and negativity towards one another, that any kind of peaceful negotiations for coexistence in a shared territory, which requires them to set aside their differences, will be very difficult to accomplish.