Why do nations go to war? The simple answer: Territory. Even though it is argued to be a prerequisite element for the sovereign statehood of a country, it has remained a matter of life and death in the lives of nations. History is a testament to this very assertion that territory is not just a piece of land, but a piece of flesh, blood, bones and soul of any state.According to Merriam-Webster, the word ‘irredentism’ means the reunion of politically or ethnically displaced territory, along with a population having the same national identity. On the other hand, ‘revanchism’ evolved from the French word ‘revanche’ which means revenge. In the political realm, revanchism refers to such a theory that intends to seek revenge for a lost territory. Historically revanchism remained relevant in French foreign and domestic politics. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 resulted in the Unification of Germany and the defeat of France that also deprived them of territory. The French academics and intelligentsia made revanchism a part of their academic literature to keep the wounds of their defeat fresh, and the culminating point of French irredentism and revanchism manifested in the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919.Why do nations equate blood with territory? There can be a number of answers to this question; however, the most appealing logic behind this phenomenon can be the love one feels for their motherland, as well as the spiritual connection they might have to their place of birth. Arguably, this notion was referred to as ‘morale forces’ by Prussian strategist Clausewitz in his influential book “On War”. Germany’s first Chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s famous notion to “think from your blood” was unpredictably a strong and effective message that appealed to the Prussian Military minds and people at large. The effectiveness of this rhetoric can be assessed from the Unification of Germany in 1871 and its subsequent use by Adolf Hitler during the interwar period. It can be argued that Irredentism and revanchism are two grand strategic concepts since they have been employed by other great world powers. For example, Hitler’s grand strategy was the achievement of Lebensraum (more living space for Germans) which he articulated in his memoir Mein Kampf (My Battle) back in 1925. Hitler’s foreign policy remained overshadowed by his grand strategic ambitions. The initiation of the Second World War and Hitler’s strategy of intimidation and annexation was all aimed at making territorial gains in Europe. Germany’s Anschluss (reunion) with Austria in March 1938; was also primarily based upon irredentism and revanchism.Irredentism and revanchism are two grand strategic concepts that have been employed by other great world powers. An example of this is the initiation of the World War II and Hitler’s strategy of intimidation and annexation that was aimed at making territorial gains in EuropeEven though the thirteen American Colonies and their remarkable expansion to the North, South and the West was conducted under the banner of ‘Manifest Destiny’, Shane Mountjoy, in his book “Manifest Destiny: Westward Expansion” (2009), highlighted that the concept was originally put forward by John O’Sullivan. Similarly, Andrew J. Bacevich, in his book “The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War” (2005) cited John Winthrop’s remarks in 1630, about the Thirteen Colonies being the ‘New Jerusalem’ and ‘City upon the Hill’, were deep rooted in nationalism, superiority of race, culture and blood. These foundations have always served as the extension of irredentism and revanchism. The uncertainty and perhaps hostile circumstances prevailing in the Pacific region is primarily due to irredentism and revanchism, flanked by nationalism. The Sino-Japanese, Russo-Japanese, North and South Korean and Japanese-Korean relations are predominantly volatile due to historic animosities and claims over territory. Likewise, in March 2014, the Annexation of Crimea from Ukraine by Russia can be cited as the perfect example of irredentism and revanchism. Historically, the Russo-Crimean War of 1853-56 deprived the Russian Empire of Crimea; however, Russians did not forget the imposed 1856 Treaty of Paris.While keeping in view the developments made in the world over the course of history, the author firmly believes that Pakistan’s Lebensraum lies in the East- primarily due to ethnic, historic, religious and political reasons. Pakistan was deprived of crucial regions, along with a remarkable demographic wealth, due to a conspiracy orchestrated by the evil nexus of Britain and the Indian Hindus at the time of Partition, back in 1947. There exists a thick amount of literature on the deliberate injustices and discriminatory demarcation made by the British Empire. One of those evil designs was highlighted by Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema in his book “Pakistan’s Defense Policy, 1947-58” (1990). Cheema argued that Pakistan was deprived of territory despite having an overwhelming population of Muslims, especially in the Gurdaspur district, which consisted of four tehsils i.e. Gurdaspur, Batala, Shakergarh and Pathankot. Strategically less relevant Shakergarh was given to Pakistan, while the rest were given to India, which provided the Indian Army with a continental pathway to invade Kashmir. It gave birth to the still unresolved Kashmir Dispute between the two countries, which has resulted in three limited wars, along with innumerable border skirmishes, leading to the loss of thousands of precious lives and billions of dollars.This year, Pakistanis are celebrating 71 years of independence. Undoubtedly, this was a unique journey and can even be regarded as a miracle; nevertheless, this journey is enduring and permanent. To manifest the true essence of liberty and independence, it is an imperative for Pakistan to accelerate its true and justified claims over territory. However, to strengthen its voice and narrative, Pakistan must build up its economy and maximize the fruits of its demographic wealth, so, that these elements could turn into a formidable military force. It would be an utter fallacy and a sign of grave weakness to give up rightful claims over territory. Apart from irredentism and revanchism, nationalism is a realist contention and the bond that binds nations together. It is an undeniable lesson from past civilizations that irredentism, revanchism and nationalism help in strengthening patriotism and civic nationalism. Nations and states never forget their history — this is what keeps them alive.The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished in Daily Times, August 16th 2018.