Monday, 25 April 2016

Illogical Frontiers

According to the US State Department, at July 21, 2015, there were 195 sovereign states in the world. Their borders are products of history, not logic. They have been negotiated based on occupation, not geographical regions. This is illustrated by the following.

Divided islands:

1. Borneo (Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia)
2. Cyprus (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Republic of Cyprus)
3. Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti)
4. Ireland (Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom)
5. Kataja (Finland and Sweden)
6. Market (Finland and Sweden)
7. New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua-New Guinea)
8. Sebatik (Indonesia and Malaysia)
9. St Martin in the Caribbean (France and Netherlands)
10. Tierra del Fuego (Argentina and Chile)
11. Timor (East Timor and Indonesia)
12. Usedom (Germany and Poland)

Divided peninsulas:

1. Arabia (Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen)
2. Balkan (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia,
Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Turkey)
2. Iberia (Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain)
3. Italy (Italian Republic, San Marino and Vatican State)
4. Korea (North and South)
5. Malay (Malaysia and Thailand)
6. Scandinavia (Norway and Sweden).

Even landmasses have artificial borders. The frontiers between Canada and the United States consist almost completely of straight lines, adopted in the 19th Century as compromises of conflicting geographical claims to river basins by British North America and USA. The colonial powers did likewise in Africa in the late 19th Century, resulting in the linear frontiers of Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania and the Sahara states.

The same thing happened in the Middle East after the First World War, producing the straight borders of Iraq, Jordan and Syria.

Non-linear borders can also be artificial; the northern frontier of France snakes through flat, Francophone farmland without a geographical basis. It is merely the limit of territory conquered by the great King Louis XIV in his push to the Rhine, which he wanted as a natural border for France.

Not only are all these borders geographically artificial, they are also ethnically unjustified because they divide people speaking the same language. The 195 countries of the world speak only a few main languages eg Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi-Urdu, Indonesian-Malay, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

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