Number of states may double in the 21st century

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Casper, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. Casper
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    Casper Member

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    There was a belief in the 19th century that nationalism would fade with the advancement of the economy, society and culture. There was a sense that cultured people cannot be nationalists. But this concept was disproved in the 20th century. Nationalism only grows stronger as illiterate peasants become aware of their Egyptian, Jordanian, Palestinian, Algerian or Syrian ethnicity, and come to identify themselves as a separate culture. This encourages separatism, the dissolution of multiethnic states and the appearance of new countries.

    Vladimir Ryzhkov, a professor at the Moscow Higher School of Economics, talks with Yevgeny Shestakov, host of the Discussion Club, a joint project of the Rossiiskaya Gazeta website and the Valdai Club, about which principles take precedence: the right of nations to self-determination or the principle of territorial integrity.

    Shestakov: There are many unrecognized states that proclaimed independence in violation of their constitutions. Is centralized power the best protection from disintegration?

    Ryzhkov: Not at all. There are numerous examples where rigid centralization led to disintegration. The obvious example is the Soviet Union, which had a strict vertical power structure right up to the end, yet fell apart very quickly. One of the recent examples is Sudan, which has split in two despite the authorities’ attempts to keep the country united. The split has resulted in millions of refugees and tens of thousands of victims.

    There are many examples in history of excessive centralization causing disintegration. Take the Russian Empire and its policy of Russifying the Baltics, in particular Finland, during the reign of Alexander II and Nicholas II. A huge Orthodox cathedral was built in Helsinki to symbolize that policy, which was also used in the empire’s Polish lands.

    You and I know how that policy ended: Poles, Georgians and Balts constituted the majority of party members and also were the “officers” of the Bolshevik, Socialist-Revolutionary and other pro-revolution parties in Russia.

    Russian history shows that excessive centralization, standardization and Russification only leads to the dissolution of the state. The same has happened in dozens of other countries across the world. On the other hand, decentralization, federalization and respect for ethnic traditions help preserve state unity. Before Emperor Alexander III, Alexander I and Alexander II pursued a very mild and highly reasonable policy in the ethnic provinces.

    India is the best example of a huge country that remains a viable state even though its people speak hundreds of languages, pray to dozens of gods and differ from each other in a number of other ways. India is the most complicated large state in terms of ethnicity, religion and language. Nevertheless, it was India’s policy of decentralization and federalism that has ensured its successful development since it gained independence.

    Shestakov: But there are separatists in India who demand freedom for Kashmir.

    Ryzhkov: Kashmir is a special case; it is a disputed territory divided between India and Pakistan. The British planted that time bomb when they were leaving the region and when the modern Indian and Pakistani states were formed. Kashmir has no connection to the policy of federalism; it is an anomaly, an exception to the general rule.

    Shestakov: Why are there unrecognized states?

    Ryzhkov: Unfortunately, it all depends on chance, because there is no international standard for the creation of such states. The international community sometimes takes diametrically opposite stands on similar problems.

    For example, the UN and other organizations have applauded the establishment of South Sudan. They said that its people had the right to hold a referendum and decide to secede from the north in order to create a separate state. The events in Kosovo were similar: the bulk of Western countries said that Kosovo Albanians had the right to form an ethnic state, although Spain and Greece dissented.

    A completely different approach was taken toward Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The world concedes the right to independence to South Sudan and to Kosovo Albanians, but denies it to South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    In other words, decisions differ from case to case, and there is no international principle governing the creation of new states.
    There is a discrepancy between two fundamental UN-recognized principles: the principle of territorial integrity of states and the right to self-determination. As a result, Kosovo Albanians now have an ethnic state, while Kurds don’t.

    There are many more examples like this, but this is the general trend: 51 states signed the UN Charter in 1945 when the United Nations Organization was established. There are nearly 200 UN members now. In other words, a growing number of ethnic groups and nations are gaining statehood, and I think that if this trend persists, the number may double in the 21st century.

    Full version of the interview was published on ValdaiClub.com
     
  2. idb
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    idb Gold Member

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    It would seem to be a case of chickens coming home to roost.
    Look especially at any number of countries formed during the imperial expansionist period of the 18th and 19th centuries as well as the post-war settlements in the 20th.

    Trying to meld disparate groups of cultures and religions into one entity has in many cases caused nothing but conflict.
    Look at Africa.
    Look at the Middle East.
     
  3. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Empires come and empires go.

    Societies of like minded people sharing a common cultural indentity seem to have a better track record of suviving over the ages. (Poland is a good example of that)

    Sometimes those cultures can achieve nationhood.
     
  4. rightwinger
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    rightwinger Paid Messageboard Poster Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Many of these so called countries are remnants of European colonialization based on geography rather than naturally forming countries based on a common heritage.

    It is bound to happen
     
  5. smchugh
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    smchugh Rookie

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    Fragmentation of established states, nations, or empires is not caused simply by a centralized government but only by certain policies the government decides to enforce upon its citizens. People who have lived in a given area for centuries have established customs, religions, and ways of life which result from their shared history, geography, and circumstances. Conflict most often occurs when a governing body tries to force change upon a group of people who see no need for the said change. Conflict also arises when the government established laws which dictate how multiple groups of people who live in relatively close proximity, who differ in some way, must live under shared law. Finally a third type of conflict which can arise occurs when a group of people is treated unfairly under the law or discriminated against by common action.

    The first type of conflict can be seen throughout Europe at the time of New World colonization. At this time national religions were being pronounced varying by country and time period throughout Europe. Since many citizens were being forced to participate in a religion they did not personally endorse, many of them left to the colonies, which eventually fragmented from their European mothers.

    The second type of conflict can be seen currently all throughout the Middle East as different religious sects are being confined by national borders. The hatred between these groups creates the need for individual governments ruling each sect. The Middle East could see many new nations carved out of existing nations in the near future.

    Although there is no doubt that the 21st century will see many new nations, there is possibility of some nations coming together under common rule. This could be due to economic advantages, shared religious views, or simply increased political world power. The world in which we live in today will see some nations broken up by strife and others united by a common goal.
     
  6. idb
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    idb Gold Member

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    I think China will simply buy the USA.
     
  7. smchugh
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    smchugh Rookie

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    As China develops, more and more of its rural population will evolve to become larger and more diverse consumers. Their demand for goods will increase greatly whcih presents the United States with a valid opportunity. If the US invests in technology and increases its manufacturing of final goods domestically, there could be a great export market in China and India as those countries become increasingly modern.

    Although China's economy is growing rapidly (at around 10% annually), its currency is artifically inflated and lots of its progress relies on conditions of the status quo. The lack of restrictions in the work place and the lack of concern for the environment in some situations allows Chinese industry to perform at levels which are not sustainable in the long run. As China continues to progress, its government may continue to monitor and control industry in many areas enabling cover-ups to support industry until it comes crashing down around them, or it will cave to internal and international pressure to look out for its workers and environment. If the later succceeds then the current industry levels will not be sustained.

    Overall China will not buy the US and its economy will not surpass the US' either.

    Given the original idea of more states emerging during the next century, it is quite possible that as China expands its military at an exceedingly fast rate, it will look to expand its borders and absorb some neighboring territory.
     

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