Sunday, July 17, 2005

BUILDING A NATION

I was reading Captain's Quarters. Today, he writes about how, in a civil war (are any wars really "civil"?) between the Sunnis and the Shiites, the less numerous Sunnis will be annihalated. The real question is, will the Sunnis move beyond tribal loyalties to become part of the new nation?

Nationhood is not as simple as writing a constitution and electing leaders. It requires than the inhabitants of that country put aside their local loyalties to place their status as national citizens as their highest loyalty. And that's not an easy decision. Our own nation stumbled through the process. The nations that succeeded in building a nation did so because they made a decision to place the larger group above their own interests.

I really don't know whether it will happen in Iraq. I'd like them to try.

1 comment:

J. Philip said...

Those tirbal loyalties go back centuries and centuries- These middle eastern nation states have only been in existence since the end of the Ottoman Empire around 1920. Worse, the countries were carved out virtually arbitrarily with no respect for nationaility or ethnicity. It is unlikely in my eyes for these people to subordinate the centuries old indoctrination, even in the name of peace.