Nigeria: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
show comments
  • WigWag

    Jerry Z. Muller’s April 2008 Foreign Affairs article, “Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism” should be required reading for every high school and college student in America. Muller cites Winston Churchill who, when asked about the massive population transfers that took place after World War II famously said,

    “Expulsion is the method which in so far as wan have been able to see, will be the most satisfactory and lasting. There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble…A clean sweep will be made. I am not alarmed by these transferences, which are more possible in modern conditions.”

    Today, anyone who advocates carrying out the policy that Churchill recommended 68 years ago would be hauled before the International Criminal Court. Of course history has proven Churchill right. Just imagine what India and Pakistan would be like if Hindus and Muslims were still trying to live together in one country.

    The only other alternative is even bleaker; the forcible conversion of Nigeria’s Muslims into Christians. If this sounds unreasonable, it pays to remember that forcible religious conversion of the losing population in a war was the rule not the exception for centuries. It’s the reason that there are Muslims in Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo.

    Absent one of these sad remedies the bloodshed in Nigeria will almost certainly continue interminably.

  • Anthony

    “The Nigerian Question – whether the state should remain united and if so under what arrangements – is one of the many questions in world politics for which no clear answer exists.” Prospects WRM don’t look good and the central and eastern Europe solution carries blood and destruction probabilities – so here we are. Major consequences potentially for African continent as we contemplate rock and hard place.

  • Mrs. Davis

    Just imagine what India and Pakistan would be like if Hindus and Muslims were still trying to live together in one country.

    We don’t have to imagine! We can look at India, with the world’s third largest Muslim population and the world’s largest Muslim-minority population. Seems like a more peaceful place than homogeneous, pure Pakistan. Maybe the key is for governments to govern individuals and not racial, ethnic, or religious groups. Imagine what it would be like if somebody formed a government on that basis. I’ll be this might even make you think twice about affirmative action.

  • LarryD

    The root problem for Nigeria and other such cobbled together states is that there is no Nigerian identity.

    Peaceful and orderly segregation of population has happened, the Convention Concerning the Exchange of Greek and Turkish Populations and the Treaty of Lausanne (both 1923) constitute an example where this was done. If such “ethnic cleansing” isn’t done in a planned manner, then the same result will eventually be achieved by violence.

  • Multi-tribal societies don’t have a chance. We all know that deep down but don’t want to say it.

  • To give readers a better idea of what Nigeria is up against, here is a list of the tribes in the country:

    Maybe every tribe could become a little, independent country, which of course is what they used to be?

    Maybe there’s an answer but it won’t be along the lines of a Western-style liberal democracy. Crucially, we got rid of our tribes a long time ago:

  • Here’s a good link on the “corporate” nature of Western European societies:

    As American foreign policy becomes more and more involved with these far away parts of the world we are going to have to start thinking more seriously about these sorts of issues. The British developed cultural anthropology. In the 21st century we have are confronted with the perplexities of bio-cultural anthropology. We see it in Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other parts of the world.

  • Albert

    Isn’t the most important question who gets the oil?

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.