Perhaps because I’m not an international actor, it has always struck me as strange the reverence given to borders. They are, for states, like property rights are for an individual, inviolable. Borders are, to a great extent, an accident of history, settled through the time-honored mechanisms of war, diplomacy, and the maxim that possession is nine-tenths of the law. Trouble arises when lines are drawn on a map without the willing participation of those who live there, and assumed to have the same settled nature as more accidental lands. But even more arises when they are inflexible.

An article in The Atlantic Monthly wonders what the Middle-East will be like After Iraq,” and suggests, perhaps, that the artificial borders in the region might give way to arrangements somewhat more organic.

One thought on “Borders

  1. In my eyes, the main reason two people don’t get along is a fundamental difference in world views. This correlates strongly with ethnicity, and if one geographical region is heavily made up of one group, I don’t really understand why people want to keep them “unified” with another, especially if they clearly don’t get along. Sure, the country as a whole would get weaker since it would end up smaller, and I can see how the majority would be upset at losing the natural resources, etc., that they might have been able to control with a unified country, but this “nationalism” is just a selfish rationalization for dominating a neighbor that has so little in common with you to be absurd.

    IMO, a government should guarantee a “right to exit” as a fundamental human right. This includes the right to emigrate, and the right for a region to exit the political system entirely, by way of secession. How differently would a government behave if it knew that its population could just leave it piecemeal?

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