Tuesday, August 7, 2007

previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)

Territorial wars, R.I.P.

Foreign Policy has posted on its website a list of "The World’s Most Valuable Disputed Turf." The list is characerized as "real estate that, at least for some countries, just might be worth fighting for."

Their list consists of areas deemed significant because they either contain valuable raw materials or represent chokepoints for the access to raw materials. What's shocking, however, is how unlikely that force will be involved in any of the disputes. Part of this is because the actual value of the raw materials is open to question (see the Orinoco River Basin). In some of the other disputed areas (the Spratly Islands), tensions have ratcheted down dramatically.

The other part, however, is that the territorial disputes that tend to promote violent conflict are those parcels of land that affect a state's territorial security (Alsace-Lorraine) or its sense of nationhood (Kosovo, Kashmir). Indeed, if I was composing that list, my top five would be entire countries/almost-countries that appear ripe for annexation: Taiwan, Belarus, Kosovo, Somaliland, and Kashmir.

The fact that Foreign Policy came up with such a lame list is not a slight against them -- instead, it's a healthy indicator for why the world seems to be more pacific.

posted by Dan on 08.07.07 at 09:36 AM



I'm just surprised you still take Foreign Policy all that seriously. Someone recently called it "The People magazine of international affairs" - and this frequently seems the case!

posted by: Anon on 08.07.07 at 09:36 AM [permalink]

Well, FP is actually read, whereas others often mainly decorate shelves.

Here's an interesting question, though: When did power become uncoupled from territory?

posted by: Doug on 08.07.07 at 09:36 AM [permalink]

Why would your top 5 not include the Palestinian territories (where violent conflict is essentially always occurring)?


posted by: Sk on 08.07.07 at 09:36 AM [permalink]

Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?