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Regarding Gregory Clark’s Aug. 27 article, “Hope for peace in partition?“: It was with some surprise that I read Clark preach the virtues and minimize the dangers of using partition as a tool to solve intrastate disputes (such as in Iraq). Even if one accepts Clark’s view that responsibility for the tragedies following the partition of India and Pakistan belongs mainly to the British, it is clear that partitions have caused, or at least failed to solve, a lot of conflicts. To cite a few sadly famous examples: Ireland and Northern Ireland; Israel and Palestine; West and East Berlin; North and South Korea; North and South Vietnam; India and Pakistan; Pakistan and Bangladesh.

It is clear that resorting to partition can be of use in separating two factions who would otherwise be engaged in a civil war. One must remember, however, that deciding the terms of a partition is an extremely controversial task. Furthermore, after partition has taken place, there will always be individuals who want to recover lost territory. More often than not, it seems, they try to do so by force. The conflicts listed above suggest that partition can lay the ground for future tension, at least as much as it can bring peace.

joel-david dalibard

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