Thursday, December 29, 2016

Catalonia offers a projection of the ten pieces of the world most likely to become nations in the not-too-far distant future. This includes the Flemish Republic, Veneto (a breakaway state in north-eastern Italy, combined with parts of south-west Austria), Scotland, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, New Russia, West Papua, Somaliland, but still not Palestine. Top of its list, and not surprisingly given the results of the recent elections there, Catalonia is deemed the most likely, which is a depressing statement for the other nine, because there is absolutely no possibility, short of armed interference if necessary, that either Spain, or the rest of the European Union, is going to "allow" Catalonia to become an independent nation, if only because it would encourage the Basques and the Bretons, which would then encourage the Welsh, the Flemish, which would then...

Kashmir and Balochistan would no doubt like to be on the list, and there are folk in both Texas and California who share a similar dream, Bougainville will soon be holding a referendum, though why it would choose to leave Papua New Guinea and become part of the Solomon Islands is beyond comprehension. Kurdistan ought to be on the list, but the responses of Iraq, Syria and Turkey to their efforts, and the current military anarchy in the region, make it unlikely in the foreseable future. Quebec will never happen, but will never allow itself to give up, any more than Wales will, or Brittany. Ambazonia in the south-west of Cameroon declared itself an independent republic as long ago as 1999, but nobody paid that any attention, not even inside Ambazonia. Sahrawi could emerge out of Western Sahara, but that will depend on politics inside Morocco. Uyghurstan, which is in East Turkestan, like Tibetan aspirations for greater independence, will be decided in Bei-Jing, so take that as not-happening. A Chechen Republic of Ichkeria? Putin might find that useful, one day. The re-emergence of Biafra out of Nigeria - that actually has some plausibility to it, as Nigeria becomes less stable... Cabinda as a breakaway from Angola? The restructuring of Iraq and Syria once the mess is sorted out, with an Alawite state, a Kurdish state, and some geographical acceptance of the Islamic Caliphate?

And then there are the states that could simply disappear, flooded as global warming takes effect, drowned under the weight of debt, conquered by ambitious neighbours, buried under volcanic ash, absorbed into someone's empire. has carried out a survey, which reckons Scandinavia is the best prepared, and puts several African countries at serious risk of not finishing the decade, while Jordan's descent towards the bottom of the list will give much encouragement to Palestinians that a two-state solution might actually be feasible, though not the one currently on the agenda.

And as to Catalonia... rather than me writing an essay, click here for as comprehensive an account as you will find.

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