The struggles for independence and the impact of redrawing borders | The Economist


The number of countries in the United Nations has grown over the decades, from 51 States in 1945 to 193 today. Many more places want to become independent, but national governments almost always oppose secession. Catalonia’s Parliament declared independence from Spain in October 2017 following a referendum deemed illegal by the central authorities in Madrid. Spain dismissed the region’s government and decreed that a fresh election should be held. Catalan politicians leading the independence movement could be jailed for decades if found guilty of rebellion and sedition. The autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq also held a recent independence referendum, it outraged the government in Baghdad and neighboring countries, which also have Kurdish minorities. The Baghdad government claimed the independence referendum was illegal and seized back the lands Kurds had taken beyond their region. The desire for secession is nothing new, there are estimated to be more than 8,000 ethno-cultural groups in the world, with many independence movements demanding their homelands be recognized as countries. Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission said that: “If every region had its way the EU would become unmanageable.” So who gets to form a state? There are no clear international rules. The 1933 Montevideo Convention declared that a region needs four things to become a state: a permanent population, a defined territory, a government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states. But these are only guidelines, ideally, a region would also need other conditions, such as: show that a clear majority have freely chosen independence, respect its own minorities, have a viable state and settle terms with the state that leaves and its neighbors. In practice, all of these conditions are hard to meet. Taiwan is a modern democratic state in all but international law. It’s an island off the southeastern coast of China which has its own constitution, functions as an independent state, has democratically elected leaders and was the first place in Asia to rule in favor of gay marriage. Per head it’s around three times richer than mainland China. But China regards Taiwan as a renegade province, it insists that no country can have diplomatic ties with both itself and Taiwan. Only 19 countries, plus the Vatican, officially recognize it. Somaliland is another region seeking to be recognized as a country, the semi-desert territory on the coast of the Gulf of Aden declared independence from Somalia in 1991. It has its own government, police force and currency, but no foreign government recognizes it, perhaps for good reason… To recognize Somaliland would encourage other separatists in the region, it would undermine the already weak federal government of Somalia, and it would probably lead to war. There have only been two major changes to African borders since the 1960s and neither is a success story. Eritrea declared independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Today, Eritrea has a despotic government and its people are mired in abject poverty. In 2011, South Sudan seceded from Sudan, making it the world’s newest country. Soon after South Sudan formed, civil war broke out, displacing 2.2 million people. Although a ceasefire was signed in 2015, the country lies in ruin, plagued by hyperinflation, famine and violence. Independence has a romantic ring, many sympathize with the demand for freedom, but redrawing borders is dangerous and often causes as many problems as it solves.

100 thoughts on “The struggles for independence and the impact of redrawing borders | The Economist

  • The SOMALILAND cause is totally different from what is presented in this clip !!!
    SOMALILAND was a British Protectorate and gained its independence from Britain on June 26, 1960.
    Later on, in the same year Somalia gained its independence from Italy and the two independent countries formed THE UNITED SOMALI REPUBLIC.
    That unity didn't work well because a military Junta from former Somali Italy took over the government and they committed serious genocide against the people of SOMALILAND.
    SOMALILAND cities, villages were bombarded by air force and all types of weapons were used against the civilians.
    This situation led the formation of an armed OPPOSITION in SOMALILAND in 1981and the military might of Dictator Siad defeated in1991 and he fled to Nigeria after massacring more 800,000 innocent men, women and children.
    At that time the national leaders of SOMALILAND people called general inclusive conference for the remaining population and they DECLARED THE END OF UNITY WITH SOMALIA AND THE REINSTATEMENT OF SOMALILAND REPUBLIC ( May 15, 1991).
    Furthermore, a referendum was conducted in the year 2001 under the auspices of 60 countries and organizations and 97 percent voted yes for Independence

  • Correction .Somaliland did NOT separate from Somalia, when it got its independence from Britain, it joined Somalia( who got independence from Italia ) in 1960 hoping greater Somalia that would all somali ethnic under one flag. The union failed , and after 10 years of war with socialist military regime that carried genocide , Somaliland finally realized that it need to revert to it's original state, "Somaliland Republic".

  • How about Nagaland.
    Nagaland declared its independence on 14th August 1947 after the British left.However India forcefully occupied Nagaland.It is still under occupation.

  • KOSOVA REPUBLIC independent and happy nothing can change this destiny 🇽🇰🇪🇺🇽🇰🇪🇺🇽🇰🇪🇺❤❤❤

  • Taiwan is owned by the Republic of China, which represents China as a whole in UN meetings. The People's Republic of China doesn't like this.

  • Kashmir has been a full flags country, these days occupied by India, Pakistan and China,
    United Nations declares it disputed territory which has to be decided for their future,
    A vast majority of Kashmiri people wants independent state but India refuse to give them right of self determination and freedom, India brutally occupied Kashmir, People of Kashmir has been suffering for my decades they have lost more than 600,000 lives for the cost of freedom.

  • Aspirations of regions to separatism from a country based on overexploitation, oppression, violations of laws and human rights.

  • I want my own country too. However, instead of creating new international borders, my country will eradicate existing ones. I don't really see the point of the India-Bangladesh border; considered one of the most arbitrary in the world. Was it just because people across the border did not follow the same religion?

  • What about the Nagas? Western Naga's land occupied by Indian and the eastern part occupied by the Myanmar military junta..

  • this video is globalist propoganda. If a people choose freedom who the hell has any right to counter them and say they cant have thier own country??!!!

  • How about Freedonia? It has been at war since 1933. It’s leader, Rufus T. Firefly, has been fighting for its rights for years.

  • A monk (attempting to restore a country that literally enforce slavery) and a Japanese dog demanding independence? No thanks. Go enjoy your dose of “self determination”.

  • we SOMALILAND as well we were British SOMALILAND protectorate only five days after our independence we lost with volunteer unity Somalia republic which IS never succeeds. Inshallah, we will get our recognition back soon viva Somalilanders live your enemies

  • It is very biased and skewed towards white ppl. If an independece is obvious for the better, they will still ignore it depending on how much they value the life of ppl. If ur blacks or Muslamics; forget it. Zoomalia has been at war since 1988 to this day. What is the war recognising Somaliland will create? Refuelling and bringing back the collapsed fascist Zoomalia will start a new fresh war between north and south
    Good for weapons trafickers and western sales men only.

  • You know most of these regions are suffering from ethnic cleansing right now, right. Especially in the Middle East and Africa. Ironically most of them are openly supported by the US, like South Sudan or Iraqi Kurdistan.

  • I support federalism. I support ethno-culture groups having self-determination. God made us naturally dislike each in Babel for a reason. That's because humanism or human unity is catastrophic. If we can't unite under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, then it's better not to unite at all. Human unity apart from God is ultimate form evil.

  • I think you forgot to talk about the ISIS which tried to creat its own country for independence back in 2014 in the region of Iraq and Syria and you also forgot to talk about Kashmir which has also bean trying to create its own country for a very long time and you also did not talk about Scotlands so-called independence referendum back in 2015. You also did not talk about Hong Kong cause its been trying to gain independence for years.
    You also did not talk about Eastern Ukraine which has also been trying to gain its own sovereignty since 2014.

  • what arrogance trying to promote independence for minority groups. tibet is part of china and bavaria is part of germany. advocating for secession in those countries is treason.

  • not only Jammu and Kashmir
    Khalistan( endian Punjab) wants freedom
    Assam wants freedom
    Manipur demanding independence
    Nagaland demanding independence
    Mizoram demanding independence
    Tripura wants independence
    Sikkim wants Freedom

    fuck endia

  • Jean-Claude Junker should mind his own fucking business in Europe. Gritty Frenchman ruined the world with bloody Brits.

  • Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion, too

    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You, you may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you will join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man

    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You, you may say I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you will join us
    And the world will live as one

  • They consider Bavaria needs independence from Germany, but not including Papua aspiration for freedom from Indonesia ! sad !

  • Patani, Southernmost Thailand, Malay Muslim want independence from Thai Buddhist, 5 Province Santun(Malay:Setul), Narathiwat(Menara), Pattani, Yala(Jala) and Songkhla(Malay:Singgora). annexed in 1909, anger the Malays people. but nothing can do, like Champa/Cham Malay in Vietnam lost all territory, Malay in Peninsular lost half of it Peninsular from Isthmus of Kra today majority most of South is Thai, like Vietnam, most Cham Muslim and Hindu are minority in own land. most fleet to Cambodia, Southern Thailand, Sumatra, Indonesia, Malaysia and Natuna Island, Indonesia. today Cham malay own left Palace, temple ruins and temple/candi still used by Cham hindu and for cham muslim for cultural, cham new year and festival(both muslim and hindu)

  • Ethiopia – somali want independence
    Somalia – somaliland want independence
    Nigeria- small South East Region want independence
    Kenya – Kenya somali want independence
    LIBYA – about to spilit to 3 region
    Congo 2 small region near Uganda.
    Cameron – East Coast small region English speakers.
    So many African regions want independence.

  • Only one thing makes the difference when trying to be a country BUT YOU FAILED TO MENTION IT and that one thing ia nilitary power who has most it owns the land its been that way for thousands of years and it wont change just because some payed money change definition some books and websites
    You can claim you are correct up until the military of your region comes wipe you out

  • Guilt is shared. The Spanish Government does not dialogue and only threatens Republican politicians and their institutions. Pedro Sánchez and his minister Marlaska only respond to the criminal code and more threats. And leaders of Citizens, PP and Vox every day exercise verbal violence against Catalan politicians. If Pedro Sánchez believes that the Constitution is the Bible and closes doors to dialogue, it is not surprising that tempers are heated.

  • most western countries do not experience this issue because there intelligence community are ahead of foreign influence, in fact they actively interfering with 3rd world countries natural development.

  • The world is forgetting Nagaland currently in India which was independent but later taken forcefully by the indians under their union. The plebicite of 1951 where 99.9% people voted that nagas are free .

  • The African leaders were complaining if they recognise Somaliland that other states will appear then South Sudan appeared!! and now Somalia will fall trouble(it was chaos) . Guys they are afraid of what Somaliland is enjoying which is the democracy

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