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Misled by the Map: Geography Gets Political with Martin Lewis


[MUSIC] Stanford University.>>I thank you all and welcome you
back to the farm that is Stanford. I’m gonna start out with
a very simple document, something that’s ubiquitous,
a basic political map of the world. But I’m going to argue that this
is a very misleading document. It doesn’t show what it purports to show. It purports to show the entire
world pretty much divided into theoretically equivalent sovereign states,
independent countries, nation states, whatever we want to call them. Those are usually considered
synonymous terms. All of which occupy a discrete amount
of territory with clearly demarcated boundaries, they join with each
other in the United Nations and confer legitimacy on each other through
mutual diplomatic recognition and so on. But it’s really vastly more complicated. I’ll show you a few places on that map. There’s Western Sahara. Here, we can see appearing,
shown as a country. It’s not a country,
it’s never been a country. More about that later. Here we have the Crimean Peninsula
as part of Ukraine. It’s not longer part of Ukraine. It’s been annexed by Russia and don’t expect it to go back to Ukraine
anytime soon, perhaps anytime. Or how about Somalia in Eastern Africa? It was a country until 1991,
it has not been one since then. It has a provisional government that
controls a small amount of its territory. I’ll show you some other maps later on. If we focus in more directly,
we can see many more problems than that. Let’s just take a map of the Middle East. I’m gonna move over here so
I could see it better. I’ve just sort of simplified
this with a circle and there we have the standard model. I’m gonna go through a number of maps and
just show you ambiguities, or anomalies, things that go against our
basic view of the world. First of all,
we have non-sovereign territories. You have the Palestinian territories. They are an ambiguity,
what exactly are they? It’s recognized as a state
by 135 UN members. It’s a UN observer, an UNESCO member but
it’s not a UN member, it’s not a sovereign state. That’s just the beginning. How about Kosovo? It’s declared itself independent,
it’s not a member of the UN and it recognized as a state by fewer countries
than recognize the Palestine territories. Then we have Israel
which is a UN member but it’s not recognized as
a state by 32 UN members. Interestingly, even Armenia and
Cyprus are not recognized by everybody. Pakistan doesn’t recognize Armenia,
hard to say why. Turkey doesn’t recognize Cyprus and
that will become clear in a little while. We have states with barely
functional governments. I’ll show you a map later on
about the country of Bosnia, which is really a psuedo-country, it
doesn’t really govern itself by any means. Lebanon is a real problem. Yes, there’s a country there and it has
a government but everybody knows that the militia called Hezbollah is vastly
stronger than the Lebanese army. A country is not supposed to have
a militia of one of its political parties that’s stronger than
the army of that country. It goes against the scheme. We have a lot of countries here that do
not country their full territorial extent by any means. Ukraine, obviously,
has lost Crimea and other territories. Moldova doesn’t control all of its
territories, nor does Georgia, nor does Azerbaijan, nor
does Cyprus, nor does Somalia. It gets even deeper. We have a bunch of states here that
have essentially collapsed and no longer have effective central
governments or if they do have effective central governments, they only
control a minority of their territory. That’s been true in Somalia for some time
and much more recently true in Syria, Yemen, and Libya but
it is the fact on the ground right now. That’s what I want to emphasize,
how the world actually is, not how our maps show it or
how our diplomats conceive it to be. Here we have a couple of fragile
states that have lost territory and rely essentially on foreign militaries
to a large degree to stay in power. Afghanistan and certainly Iraq, I’ll show
you more maps of these countries later on, and then have that below
the level of the state. How about places we don’t see
on that initial map but yet either act as states or, at least,
have some sort of sovereignty. I’ll show you some maps later of this
little sliver of a criminal state called Transnistria, we’ve got Russian
puppet states here in Eastern Ukraine. We have two of them in Georgia,
we have Armenian puppet state. They claim themselves to be independent
states, or at least most of these do. There’s actually a group of them, they’re called the Commonwealth
of Unrecognized States.>>[LAUGH]
>>They exchange ambassadors to each other,
even though nobody else recognizes them. Northern Cyprus, recognized as
a country by one other country, Turkey. We have Somaliland,
not to be confused with Somalia, I’ll show you a map of
Somaliland later on. We have the Kurds in northern Iraq and
northern Syria. As I say, some of these have limited international
recognition, some don’t have any. Iraqi Kurdistan has not
declared itself sovereign but it functions as if it
were a sovereign state. And then how about areas of
Islamist insurgencies, which do not necessarily declare themselves as
states but function somewhat like it. From al-Shabaab in Somalia,
and Boko Haram in Nigeria, Ansar al-Sharia in Libya,
al-Nusra and ISIS in Syria, and Iraq has Bola in Lebanon out of Taliban,
obviously. The deeper we look,
the more fractured this map becomes and the more ambiguities we see. We can talk about whether or
not Russia and the United Arab Emirates
are nation states. They are certainly states but
they are both organized as federations, so that’s not necessarily a nation state. Different nationalities comprise them. How about states with active
separatist movements? That’s just the Wikipedia list. It’s hard to say exactly how active
you have to be to qualify but you can see we’re getting
most countries now. Then the same thing if we get to disputed
boundaries, more often than not. To summarize, the world’s geopolitical map is vastly more complicated than
that simple map makes it seem but diplomats generally operate
on the basis of that map. They operate as the world as they
think it ought to be in a sense, not how it maybe, it is. How does it matter? I would argue that it helps explain,
it doesn’t fully explain but it helps explain the debacle of Iraq. Now what do I mean by that? I mean, 12 years after the U.S. led invasion in 2003, the news,
if you follow it from Iraq, is grim. We have a humanitarian situation rapidly
deteriorating, everybody knows about that. How about the fact that about half of
Iraq is not under the control of it’s government, we have
the government here in pink. The Kurd’s have their own
state in the north and then in this beige color we have the
so-called Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL, or whatever you want to call it
with a vast amount of territory. Obviously, a problem. What is really worrying the United States
right now, among many things, is Iraq is getting increasingly close
relations with Iran and now also, with Russia and with Syria. Not exactly what the United States had
in mind, I don’t think 12 years ago, when this started and
the price tag at $2 trillion and going. This was incredibly expensive
in terms of money and human personnel and diplomatic clout, any way you want to look at it. Why did it happen? One thing to look at is the fact that
before it happened Those who were planning the invasion of Iraq foresaw
something entirely different. They thought it was going to be an easy
military victory, and in a sense the initial military victory was fairly
easy, but it wasn’t that easy afterwards. But, if you look at what
was being prognosticated, it’s gonna take weeks rather than months,
five days or five months. Under $50 billion. Finance it’s own reconstruction. Now of course these are people who
are associated with that effort, not everybody thought that. But looking back, I certainly didn’t find
people saying that Iraq was going to fragment, break up, and the government was
going to ally itself with Iran and Russia. That was not on anybody’s radar screen,
as far as I know. Well, I think one of the reasons why
these costly errors and fundamental misunderstandings come from certain false
assumptions about how the world operates, and the most important of these would be
what I call the Myth of the Nation State. By that I mean, what is a nation,
what is a state. So a state is a government. If it’s a sovereign state
it’s an independent country. Now we obviously have subordinate
states like California, but that’s not a sovereign state. Or any other state of the United States,
or Mexico, or Brazil, whatever. But a sovereign state is supposed to be
the ultimate level of the geopolitical hierarchy, right? Independent, nobody is
telling them what to do, but it’s also supposed to be a nation,
and a nation is not the same as a state. A state is the government,
the nation is the people. So a nation state is a state that gets its
legitimacy from representing the people, not necessarily democratically,
but unlike an empire, an empire has subjects, not citizens,
it doesn’t represent them, they’re divided up into a number
of different unequal groups. That’s how an empire functions. But a state, everybody’s suppose
to be a citizen of the state, they’re all represented supposedly by
that government at some level, and the government represents them and
vice versa. So the nation is more of
a somewhat cultural unit. Ideally a nation is united by
some common features, language, maybe religion although in practice
that doesn’t really happen. But people are suppose to have a sense
that they belong to that same nation, that they are in it together,
that they are sort of citizens in common. And we have this view, and
it’s taught in schools. It’s seen in almanacs, and encyclopedias, wherever you look that all those
countries are nation states. They’ve become nation states. We don’t have empires anymore. All countries have sort of become
nation states and function that way. So Iraq is supposed to be a nation state. So under this model, you could go in and
you could have regime change. You could take a bad regime and
get a better regime, and Iraq is going to cohere and persist as
a nation state, because that’s what it is. There’s a sense of an Iraqi people
who are in that together, and consider themselves a common
political community. Well, some Iraqis certainly did,
I don’t want to suggest that no Iraqis viewed themselves
as members of this Iraqi nation, but in retrospect it looks like most
of them had, if they thought that way, they had pretty vague affiliation
with a sense of Iraq, and many of them had no affiliation
with that sense of Iraq at all. And the same goes for Afghanistan,
and the same goes with Syria, and the same goes with Libya, and the same
goes for an awful lot of countries. If we go on the Internet and
we ask, is Iraq a nation state? Here’s the answer we get, yes, but
it’s not true, it simply isn’t. So here just to give you
the Wikipedia’s definition, I’ve basically been through this before,
so I won’t go over it again, but the notion is, this is the dominant form
of state organization, the nation state. No, I don’t think so. If all states are nation states, also the idea would be that these
would have to be synonymous terms. Speaking strictly about this,
they really aren’t. You can call them independent countries, that emphasizes more of
the geographical extent. You can them nations, that emphasizes
the people and political solidarity. The state emphasizes government. The nation state emphasizes all three. And there’s supposed to be,
like I said before, these territorially coherent
sovereign entities. But, and again, to reiterate, Iraq has
never really functioned as a nation state, yet US military planners thought it was. So I’ll show you some maps of Iraq and
some of these other countries, as well, but first, let’s just go to
the heart of the nation state. All right, the nation state is
supposedly a political, social, cultural form that emerged
in Europe in the 1800s. And that was the age of nationalism in
Europe, when empires were weakening and perhaps breaking up, and people wanted self-determination most
often for their language communities. And so you get the creation
of these nation states. But it’s questionable,
is Italy a nation state? I’d say yes, but it’s not a perfect
nation state, nor is Spain, and certainly not the United Kingdom,
they don’t fit the model either here. Why is Italy not a nation state? Well here’s a few things we see, we see
a mass rally in Venice that calls for independence from Italy. We have a large group of people, it’s
about 25% of the people in Northern Italy now say, “we don’t want to have
anything to do with the rest of Italy. We want to be the country of Padania. We certainly don’t want our taxes
to keep going down to Sicily and Calabria.” That’s a big
part of the movement. That’s a right-wing movement. Sometimes these movements,
as in the case of Catalonia, Spain, that’s a left-wing movement. Well, it was left, now it’s both left and
center, I should say. But here in Spain you’ve just
had an election Catalonia and the independence group won. It was a fairly close election,
but they certainly won, and they say “no Catalonia
here is a separate nation. It is not part of
the nation of Spain.” And it’s funny the Spanish government
will do a little conciliation there, tell the Catalans, you can call yourself
a nationality, [FOREIGN], that’s fine. You cannot call yourself a nation,
[FOREIGN], that’s a step too far. So it’s funny,
these little words can mean an awful lot. But you’ve got millions of people, both in
the bass country here and in Catalonia, saying “no,
we’re not part of the Spanish nation. We want independence.” Not all of them. How about the United Kingdom? Well, that’s a very interesting
map from the last election. Take a look at Scotland. All but three constituencies, one at
the southern borders, Edinborough and the Orkney Shetland Islands, but
with the exception of those, every single part of Scotland voted for
the Scottish Nationalist Party, which said Scotland is a separate nation,
it should aim for independence. Now, they voted for independence,
and that narrowly lost. But after it lost, the Scottish
Nationalist Party surged forward, and they want to end this political
experiment called the United Kingdom which has been in existence since 1707. And I’ll show you a little
diagram of that later on. Let’s look at some of these
areas more specifically. So like I say, Western Sahara here, you can see very clearly on our maps,
on almost all of our maps. Very occasionally you can find
a map that doesn’t show it but that’s rare, it’s almost always there. Here’s two views of it. Here’s a very common one, a map. I think this is a CIA map, I should have checked that, but it shows
Western Sahara as if it were a country. And here’s a map actually showing Morocco
as a country and that’s a Moroccan map, and it shows Western Sahara as part of
Morocco, which is basically accurate. This was a Spanish colony until 1975
when the Spanish dictator Franco died. A democratic government came in and said,
“we’re gonna relinquish our colonial empire.” People evolved, what had been
a Spanish Sahara wanted independence. Morocco said “forget it,
this is a valuable territory, it’s full of phosphates and
other goodies.” They sent their army in, conquered it, and
have essentially ruled it ever since. Actually not entirely because there
is a group called the Polisario, which is a rebel insurgent group
that represents the the 150,000 indigenous people of this area. It’s a desert so
it doesn’t have a whole lot of people. But they claim they should be independent,
and they actually control a little bit of territory on the other side of
the Moroccan fortified wall. And their government is based in
a dismal little refugee camp in Algeria. But they claim to represent this would be
nation of Western Sahara, but like I say, doesn’t have the quality of existence. That’s the law there. They have a flag. they got a motto. They’ve got an anthem. They got all this stuff.
They just don’t have a country. And that’s what that wall looked like. it’s actually a big sand berm that Morocco
has built in the dunes here with lots of bunkers and fortifications. You can see it on
Google Earth pretty easily. Sometimes, this can get
US companies in trouble. A few years ago, some Moroccan
subsidiary had to apologize for cutting Western Sahara off
of the Happy Meal map. Because if you’re gonna sell
those Happy Meals in Morocco, you better show Western Sahara
as part of Morocco, not as some sort of independent country
like we do in the United States. This could be an issue
in the 2016 election. Minor one, but it could be. Because certainly when Hilary Clinton was
secretary, she reaffirmed the US policy, which is that Western Sahara
should eventually become part of Morocco officially if Morocco can
give it some sort of economy. The United States diplomatic services have
been a wishy washy thing on these things. But there are people, this is in U.S. News
and World Report from earlier this summer. And there are some saying Hilary Clinton
is taking blood phosphate money from Morocco, and this has to do with with
money going to the Clinton Foundation. Some has come from Morocco. I don’t mean to pick on
Hilary Clinton by any means. What I just want to show is these issues,
which may seem very obscure to us. They can come and sort of bite back political candidates
of any kind because of these issues. How about Somalia? Let’s look at Somalia in
a little bit more detail. That’s the official map. Notice there’s a provisional
administrative line. Whenever you see a straight
compass line like that on a map, you know it was established by
European Colonial Authorities.>>[LAUGH]
>>And that was provisional, never totally agreed upon,
separating Ethiopia from Somalia. Funny thing about Somalia is its
flag has a star with five points, and what that refers to is
a hypothesized greater Somalia. A Somalia that would include what
used to be Italian Somalia land, what used to be British Somalia land,
what is now part of Ethiopia, what is today part of Kenya, what is today
the independent country of Djibouti. Why?
Because you find Somali people speaking
the Somali language in that whole area. This is one of the biggest
ethnic groups in Africa. So you do have one language,
one group, and there are some people who say well
then this should be our nation. We should have a Somalia nation
that includes not just Somalia but all these other Somalian
habited territories. Of course that didn’t get to be. Instead Somalia itself broke apart
into constituent territories in 1991. And that’s interesting, a crucial year. What happened in 1991? Soviet Union collapse,
end of the Cold War. Back in the Cold War days, the US and
the USSR had more money to prop up weak African countries that
might support one or the other. And somalia actually bounced
back a couple of times, well it bounced back once,
between being a US ally and a USSR ally. It was with the USSR,
then when Ethiopia joined with the USSR, then Somalia joined with the United
States, and that was typical of the day. But this just shows the situation
October 14th of last year. I haven’t found one that’s
a little bit more up to date. But we have the federal government
of Somalia in blue, but it’s in different colors because
it’s not really centralized at all. You have a bunch of local warlords and
clan leaders, and they pledged some sort of ultimate
loyalty to this federal government that doesn’t even really control
the capital of Mogadishu. Then you have Al Shabaab, a very hard core radical Islamist group
with territory here, here, and here. You’ve got some ambiguous
territories there. And then you have this fascinating
place called Somaliland. That was at one time the British colony. The rest of it was once an Italian colony. After the British and Italians left,
they joined together, but not really. Funny how that colonial impact
had a major continuing role. But I don’t know if anyone
reads The Economist, but in this week’s Economist there’s a little
article on the other Somalia, Somaliland. A functional part of
a dysfunctional country. Somaliland declares itself independent. Says we are a fully sovereign,
independent state. No way are we ever going
to join back with Somalia. Now, we don’t want to have anything to
do with, they’re a mess and we’re not. And it is,
I mean there are problems in Somaliland. It’s not a perfect state, but actually it’s one of the better run
parts of this region of the world. It’s a democracy. They’ve delayed their recent election,
but they’ve held many elections and they’ve been pretty fair. Its economy is doing pretty well. They don’t get any international aid and
it’s funny. There are some economists that say
that’s actually a funny benefit because the government has to
work with the people. They have to collect taxes which means
they have to give services to have a government. And they have an effective functioning
government that’s running pretty well. Somalians from this area are going back. The article talks about
a dentist whose gone back and now has the first modern
dentistry clinic in this region. Cuz again,
it’s doing pretty well economically. That’s just a map of it. It’s got of course a flag,
it’s got a seal, and it has a budding tourist industry. So if you really want to
impress your friends, you can take your next
vacation in Somalia. Well, in Somaliland, not in the rest
of it because you can do it. It’s relatively secure. They have an occasional Islamist sneak in
and blow something up, but not very often. It’s actually, it’s a pretty safe place. How about Iraq? I just would start out with a famous
line here published in 1969. There is no Iraqi Nation. Well, I wouldn’t say
there is no Iraqi nation. Iraq was an independent country for
a long time, and there was a sliver of an Iraqi nation. I mean, there was a sense among many of
the elites that Iraq was a nation, and it was taught in schools and
many people came to believe it. But it wasn’t deeply rooted. It’s interesting to see how
Iraq became a country, a state. Go back to Ottoman Empire in 1914. So Turkish run empire, Istanbul is
it’s capital, ruled all of Turkey, and all of what is today Iraq and
Syria and Lebanon and Israel and the Palestinian territories. A big chunk of Saudi Arabia as well. Back when it was a part
of the Ottoman Empire, it was divided into different
administrative districts. There was no one district for Iraq. There was one for Mosul in the north,
Baghdad in the center, Basrah in the south. So Iraq, it was a geographical expression. But that’s all it was. It didn’t have any political unity. During the World War I, when the Ottoman
Empire was fighting with Germany against the United States and
Britain and France, actually before the US joined, Britain and
France made a secret agreement. And I should tell you, this map is
extraordinarily well known throughout all the Middle East, because it’s seen as
this great betrayal of the British. Because the British had We’re
working with Arab rebels, that’s what Lawrence of Arabia was doing,
right, fighting against the Ottomans. And they promised the Arabs their
own country after the war, but then they made this secret deal with
France that Britain would get direct control of what is now
the core of Iraq and France would get Syria, and
they’d have these sort of divisions. And this map never came to be, but
what did happen was after the war, a few British civil servants, and
there were two who were instrumental here, Winston Churchill, who everyone has
heard of and also Gertrude Bell, a fascinating woman who was
incredibly powerful as an architect. They basically sat down and
they had made deals with the French, and not really with the local people. And they just drew lines on the map. Again, look at Iraq,
it’s got those compass straight lines. They drew lines and they figured out
that okay, this is gonna be Iraq. It’s gonna be a British colony, well it
was actually a league of nations mandate, that eventually would become independent,
but they were the ones who created it. It didn’t pay any
attention to ethnic groups. So here’s a map that shows the basic
threefold division of Iraq. If you take language and
religion you get a threefold division. So you have Arabic-speaking Shia Muslims
in the south. Arabic-speaking Sunni Muslims
in the center and in the west. And Kurdish-speaking,
mostly Sunni Muslims in the north. Now there are also a lot of other groups,
there’s Turkmens here, some are Sunni, some are Shia. There’s Yezidis, you may have heard of
them, now a different religious group. Quite a few Christians in the north, although not nearly as
many as there used to be. Used to be a lot of Jews in Baghdad,
that ended in the 1950s and a few other religious minorities, but
this is sort of a threefold division. And making Iraq they paid no
attention to any of these borders and they just thought well, it doesn’t matter. They can all come together as Iraqis, it
doesn’t matter what language they speak, what religion they follow. They just have to build up
this sense of Iraqi identity. It didn’t work out very well. And certainly it’s something that the
Kurds never really wanted to have anything to do with. They were only about 20% of the population
back when Iraq was unified under Saddam Hussein. And before then,
the Kurds were marginalized. Under Saddam Hussein they were attacked,
they were subjected to poison gas on many occasions, because they were the wrong
ethnic group, speaking the wrong language. Iraq, as it was constituted, was dominated by Sunni Arabs and
Kurds were marginalized. Now this is kind of interesting,
because after the first Gulf War in the early 90s,
that far northern area effectively became independent because George WH Bush
imposed a no-fly zone. Wouldn’t allow
the Iraqi Air Force to fly north. And once the Air Force couldn’t come and
bomb them, the Kurds were strong enough
to establish their own state. They haven’t declared themselves
independent, but boy they would like to. They would very quickly if they could get
any international support for doing so. So they have an effectively sovereign
state and they have gained territory here. Again, this map is a little bit old, but
they’ve gained a lot of this territory, especially the stippled territory here. Because when ISIS moved in
about a year and a half ago, the Iraqi military moved out and
the Kurds moved into many of these areas. Here’s what’s interesting. We have what are known as super
giant oil field right here that goes right underneath the city of Kirkuk,
right there. That was not part of the Kurdish territory
until about a year ago and now it is. So this is sort of the line of what
the Kurds would like to have and that includes some gargantuan oil fields. There’s some big oil fields in the south. The central part doesn’t have any so that’s something that the Kurds certainly
would use to build up their state. But guess what, it gets more complicated. Because the Kurds are actually divided and
this is just Iraqi Kurdistan here showing the Kurdish Democratic Party
and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. Two Kurdish political parties that
actually fought a war in the mid 90s. They patched things up but
they are very suspicious of each other. And guess what?
They speak different languages. Kurdish is not a language,
it’s a language group. Kurmanji in Northern Iraq and Turkey, Sorani a little bit further
south in Iraq and Iran. There’s a bunch of
different languages here. Finally the last complex of the years, there are Kurdish nationalists
who want a macro Kurdistan. They’re not satisfied
nearly with what they have. Course they want the Kurdish
territories in Turkey. Terrifies the government of Turkey. Some of them wanna go all the way through
the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf as it’s usually called to include
lots of territories that aren’t even remotely Kurdish. So the complexities deepen. How about the United States,
is that a perfect nation state?>>[LAUGH]
>>Well, we’ve got over half of US states have
declared sovereignty, what does that mean? They call themselves sovereign,
but everyone knows they aren’t. If you’re a sovereign power
nobody is above you, but yet because of the way
the United States evolved at one time states were almost sovereign,
back before we had a strong Constitution. You know, before the Civil War people
would say the United States are, not the United States is. United States was much more plural. So we developed this stronger,
central government over time. But states still call themselves
sovereign but everyone knows they aren’t. My colleague in Stanford Political Science
department, Stephen Krasner, actually wrote a book called
Sovereignty Organized Hypocrisy. And I think he’s on to something here. American Indian nations call
themselves sovereign too. American Indian Sovereignty and Law. They call themselves nations,
of course, but yet, are they? Well, no, not exactly, but it does
kinda complicate things a little bit. Here’s another one,
to say where is the United States. Well, there’s the US proper. There’s what I call
the global United States. And what this map is showing
is not just land territory but the 200 nautical mile
exclusive economic zone that every country gets through
the UN Convention on the law of the sea. All right, states never ratified it but
we still go with it. So, any little territory that the United
States has in the Pacific means we, the United States,
controls a big area around it. Also there’s another little thing
I’ve noticed marked over here. You got that gray zone. Well, these are three independent
countries that are in, quote, free association with
the United States, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. They are independent countries, sovereign
states, in the United Nations, but the US takes care of their defense. Residents there can move to
the United States whenever they want. And why is that? Well, the United States does
have the 750,000 square mile, mostly water, not land, Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense
Site in Kwajalein in Marshall Islands. So it’s very important for
US strategic interests. So actually if you wanted to look
at the United States we can sort of diagram it like this. You’ve got the US, the United States
proper with it’s 50 constituent states. Then we’ve got the District of Columbia
with incomplete political franchise, you know, senators. We have sovereign, I put in quotes,
American Indian reservations. Then outside of that
we’ve got commonwealths, ambiguous situation,
Puerto Rico and Marianas. Then we got Guam and the US Virgin Islands
that are unincorporated organized territories, and we have unincorporated
unorganized territories, American Samoa and a few others. We have a perpetually leased
extraterrestrial jurisdiction, Guantanamo Bay. And then we have states
in free association. So even the United States is much
more complicated then we might think. How about the United Kingdom? That shows its remnants of its empire,
mostly ocean space. And I had a lot of fun making this diagram
because it’s so deliciously complicated. So you have the United Kingdom, but it’s
composed of four constituent countries. England is a country. Scotland is a country. Wales is a country. Northern Ireland is a country. But they’re not independent countries. They’re constituent countries. Just like Greenland is a constituent
country of the Kingdom of Denmark. And Curacao is a constituent country
of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. We’ve got these oddities. That does not include
the Crown Dependencies. Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man. You know the term offshore banking? It came from these places because
they’re under the sovereign umbrella of the United Kingdom but
they’re not part of the United Kingdom, which means they have
their own banking laws. And so they created these very favorable
banking laws and then other places, countries and dependencies,
said good idea, we’ll do the same to get a lot of money. We have our overseas territories of
which there are a number of them, mostly small but inhabited. We have common wealth realms
that are independent states but whose there head of state? Queen Elizabeth the II, so she’s
the head of state, Papua New Guinea, and Canada, and Barbados,
and these other places. So, again complexity
is my watch work here. And then finally I’ll get to some
of the more serious irregularities. So places like Abkhazia or South Ossetia. All our maps show these as part
as the country of Georgia. That’s what the United States
government says, and that’s what just about everybody says,
not entirely. If you go there, you’ll find they have claimed themselves
to be fully independent countries. What most people say is they’re
puppet states of Russia. They exist because of Russian power. Russia sent its military there in 2008 to
make sure that Georgia didn’t go in, and so they sort of function
as these Russian republics. Who recognizes them? Well, Russia recognizes them, no surprise. Venezuela and Nicaragua,
why do you suppose Venezuela and Nicaragua recognize them? To thumb their nose at Uncle Sam,
basically, because we have governments that are
anti-American, and that’s how it works. Notice we have western Sahara put in
a funny color to show it’s ambiguity. And then there’s another country
over here that recognizes them. Anybody wanna take a stab
at what that country is? Anyone heard of the great state of Nauru? 15,000 people. When I was a kid, Nauru was one of the richest countries
in the world on a per capita basis. It was full of phosphates. But the phosphates are gone and
Nauru is bankrupt and impoverished. 15,000 people, sovereign country. What do they have? They have, they have independence and sovereignty, and they’re a member of
the UN, and they can bestow recognition. And why would they have bestowed
recognition on Abkhazia and South Ossetia? $50 million from Russia. Also they’ve gone back and
forth between recognizing Taiwan and the People’s Republic
of China several times.>>[LAUGH]
>>Getting the bid up…>>[LAUGH]
>>Can give you more money.>>[LAUGH]
>>So here’s one of my favorite countries, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic,
usually called Transnistria. Our maps call it part of
the country of Moldova, Moldova was a Soviet republic,
it’s now independent. It’s the poorest part of Europe,
it is dysfunctional, it’s highly corrupt. But it does not control
that Eastern strip. That is another Russian puppet state if
you will, backed up by Russian might. It’s declared itself independent. It’s part of this Community for
Democracy and Rights of Nations also known as
the Federation of Unrecognized States. So it recognizes South Ossetia and
Abkhazia and they recognize it in exchange. Diplomats and the like. This is a pretty accurate
depiction though, a den of crime, hotbed of human rights abuse,
and a risk to national security. There’s a lot of weapons
manufacturing there, it’s a real center of human trafficking,
sort of sexual slavery if you will, cigarette smuggling, drug smuggling,
you name it, it’s a problem. But they do you want to go
there again as a tourist so here’s a tourist information map.>>[LAUGH]
>>I actually had a student, after my class a couple years ago,
he went to Transnistria and he said it was kinda boring though,
so unfortunate. Is Bosnia and Herzegovina a country? I mentioned it. So this is one of the states that
emerged with the break-up of Yugoslavia. Again, that came at the end
of the Cold War in 1991. All of our maps show that’s it’s a member
of the United Nations, we see it, but boy, it does not function as a country. Let me just show you the way it’s divided. So this country is divided into
a republic and a federation. So you got the country but
then you have a Republica Serbska, so this is all on ethnic ground. So this is for the ethnic Serbs and
I should say all these people here pretty much speak the same language but
they follow different religions. So Serbs, traditionally eastern
Orthodox Christians, and then you have the federation, and the federation combines the Roman Catholic
Croatians, and the Muslim Bosniaks. Again, all these people pretty
much speak the same language. And the Croatians and the Bosniaks don’t
really like each other very much, so the federation itself hardly
even functions as a federation. You’ve got a separate Croatian Postal
service, and a separate Bosniak one. Somebody put something on my blog post, he
said in the rare case where you can find a mixed city here, you’re gonna have
one cafe for the Muslims, one for the Catholics, one for the Eastern,
or for the Serbs, the Bosniaks. You’re not going to even
drink in the same cafes. Oh and over here you have
the Brcko District which is a neutral, self governing administrative union
that’s part of both of these units so. And who is the actual head
of the government here? The head of the government,
the ultimate head, I mean they have a office
of the presidency. You can’t have one president. You have to have three. And they have this office
of the presidency. But above them you have
the high representative. Who does he represent? He represents basically
the European Union. He’s an Austrian of Slovenian origin. He’s not even from this country, but
he’s the highest position because Bosnia does not function as a state
despite the fact that it’s on our map. How about Belgium? Does Belgium even have a future? I put a few little comments about it. De Gaulle said in his, oh I missed that. I’m sorry I left something out. Had been invented by the British to annoy
the French, so that got left out here. Or as one of the political leaders said,
Belgium now is nothing more than the king, the national
football team and certain brands of beer.>>[LAUGH]
>>Okay, that’s what unites it. It went almost 200 days
without a government and didn’t really matter because,
because the regions here, Wallonia, French speaking Flanders,
Flemish or Dutch speaking, and then Brussels, they matter much more than
the government of Belgium, as does the EU. And it’s interesting, we’re even seeing
maps here where it’s disappearing. So here’s a map that shows it divided
in two, Wallonia and Flanders. Or here’s a map where they’ve given
the French speaking area to France and the Flemish speaking part to the
Netherlands, unlikely that will happen. I only have five more minutes but
I have a few other maps. How about micro nations,
are they nation states? Here’s Andorra,
remember the UN it’s a sovereign state. The role of monarch is jointly
exercised by two co-princes, the Catalan Bishop of Urgell,
and the President of France. The president of France is a monarch. That’s kind of odd. Of Andorra, another country. It’s a futile remnant. A futile remnant that never
got wiped off the map. How about Monaco,
it’s less than a square mile. Easily fitted on the campus
of Stanford University.>>[LAUGH]
>>And one of the problems here is
>>It lead to false comparability. So you go to a, here’s a CIA World
Factbook from a few years ago for average life expectancy, and you look,
where do people live the longest? Monaco, Macau which is a part of China, San Marino,
Andorra then finally we get to Japan. You say, oh my gosh there must be
something about these micro states that enables them to really have
these healthy populations. I actually talked to a political
scientist that said, yeah we should run some regression analysis and try to figure
what it is about what they are doing. Well if you could take Atherton and
make it a country, it would have an even larger.>>[LAUGH]
>>So it doesn’t have to do with their policy. It just has to do with
how the map is made. And finally I’m gonna,
I have plenty of other slides, but obviously we don’t have time for them. So I’ll leave it on this. There’s an issue of false comparability
because we think then that countries or nation states, whatever we wanna
call them, are the basic units and they are to be compared with each other. We do this all the time. But there’s something wrong of
comparing the country of Tuvalu, with its 10,000 people in the Pacific,
to China with its 1.3 billion. That would be like comparing China
to a country of 130 trillion people. That’s what the population
difference is between them. So anyway, but my final conclusion is,
you know I think it’s time for us to drop our illusions about this map
and view the world more as it actually is. And I’ll tell you, I’d be
extraordinarily surprised if Iraq, or Syria, or Somalia become coherent
states within my lifetime. Maybe it will happen, all our foreign policy is premised
on the fact that it will happen. It’d be nice if it would, I don’t think it
will, and I’d be willing to bet money that it’s not gonna happen, although that
isn’t how it works in academia is it?>>For more,
please visit us at Stanford.edu.

5 Comments

  1. efopo
    efopo July 6, 2017

    Pakistan does not recognize Armenia because Pakistan follows Islam and hates on anything not Islamic.

  2. Augusta Sister
    Augusta Sister August 1, 2017

    Everyone knows Cia owned afgiatan and iraq…poppy productions.

  3. They Knew
    They Knew October 11, 2018

    ПАВУК

  4. Myakish
    Myakish October 11, 2018

    Павук :rage:

  5. Kiernan Christ
    Kiernan Christ February 22, 2019

    This video was amazing!! Thank you so much for explaining the issues coherently and in an interesting way.

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