Monday, August 28, 2006

Squiggly border theory

Squiggly border theory

Now here's a concept on peace and stability: the squigglier the border, the more stable the state. And it's not "demise of pirates caused global warming":

The researchers argue the "squiggliness" of national borders, roughly corellates with how "artificial" or "natural" a state is - that is, how well a country's borders reflect existing regional, ethnic, historical, geographical, and linguistic fault lines.

The squiggliest country out of 144 studied turns out to be Luxembourg, such a model of comity that many of us forget its existence. Slovenia is No. 3, and is indeed one of the calmer of the new nations to emerge since the Cold War ended. Switzerland, the classic mountain country, comes in fourth.

The less squiggly countries prove more problematic. The least squiggly nation in the world is Papua New Guinea, the site of chronic and violent feuds. Saudi Arabia is right down there with a squiggliness rank of 143. Somalia and Libya are 142 and 141. Iraq is 110.

The US and Canada are exceptions, but the explanation is that the long straight border was drawn before settlement (that is, before settlement by the non-indiginous population that killed off most of the indiginous population).

No comments: