The Most Dangerous Place? The United States and South Asia in the Long 20th Century

Over the past two decades, South Asia has emerged as a key arena of US foreign policy. Apart from the war in Afghanistan, the United States has been heavily invested in combating terrorism as well as in containing the nuclear-tinged rivalry between Pakistan and India. It is not surprising that two American presidents have described the region as ¿the most dangerous place¿ in the world. By contrast, historians of US foreign policy continue to treat South Asia as peripheral to the concerns of American policymakers and as not particularly useful in understanding the course of American ascendancy. This talk examines the involvement of the United States in the region over the long 20th century and argues that its more recent engagement is not a dramatic a departure from the past. It further suggests that an ostensibly peripheral region like South Asia actually opens up a diagonal slice of American hegemony and the longer-term resources that went into its fashioning.Srinath Raghavan is Senior Fellow at Centre for Policy Research and Visiting Professor of International Relations at Ashoka University. He is author of several books including War and Peace in Modern India: A Strategic History of the Nehru Years (Macmillan, 2010); 1971: A Global History of the Creation of Bangladesh (Harvard University Press, 2013); and India¿s War: The Second World War and the Making of Modern South Asia (Basic Books, 2016). His next book, Fierce Enigmas: A History of the United States in South Asia will be published by Basic Books in October 2018.


April 17, 2018


4:30 p.m.


Louis A. Simpson International Building / Room A71