Can borders be changed?

Published 10.10.2017 01:32

Since the end of the Cold War, symbolized by the fall of the Berlin Wall, new paradigms are being offered by analysts regarding the redrawing of maps all over the world. Not only in the regions or countries where there is traditionally political instability, but in other regions or states that have a democratic structure and where there are no visible economic or social crises.

What is motivating this new temptation to redraw maps is obvious. Since the 19th century, rising nationalisms has dominated political analyses and thoughts. This was not confined only to conservative political thinkers or fields as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin wrote "The Right of Nations for Self-Determination" back in 1914, in a long paper, mainly seen as a counteroffensive to Rosa Luxemburg's views.

Lenin, after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, when Poland wanted to move away from the Soviets, did everything in his power to keep Poland in the Soviet Union. When asked by his comrades why he was being so adamant to keep the Poles within the new socialist state while he himself was the initiator of the principle of self-determination, he responded with his usual wit: "Advocating the right to divorce does not mean campaigning for every couple to divorce".

World War I ended on a very revanchist, unfair and utterly criminal peace system. Borders were drawn to create new countries, new nations and new alliances. The Versailles system was so bad and so deeply unjust in its conception and in its implementation that it caused the biggest tragedy in human history in the form of World War II.

The immense devastation of World War II gave humanity a semblance of common sense. The new world order would not take into consideration any map redrawing. Every independent country had to be respected in terms of territorial integrity. This was one of the basic principles embedded in the United Nations Charter. Article 2 of the Charter, in its fourth paragraph, stipulates: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."

This framework has helped largely to avoid a third world war, which would have probably ended the existence of the human race. It looks secondary, but the intangibility of borders plays an essential role in world peace. Trying to abandon such an essential principle could prove to be nefarious, and it is worth reminding every analyst and politician of this now.

Discord between Turkey and the U.S.A totally unexpected issue has created large-scale diplomatic strife between the United States and Turkey. A U.S. Consulate employee in Istanbul, a Turkish citizen, has been investigated on the grounds of being part of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and he was arrested. In retaliation, the U.S. Embassy has made public a diplomatically speaking blunt declaration. It said that recent events had forced the U.S. government to reassess Turkey's commitment to the security of U.S. mission services and personnel in the country.

The issuance of non-immigrant visas has therefore been suspended, and there are rumors that alongside the arrested employee, Turkish authorities wanted to take another U.S. Consulate employee to custody – again a Turkish citizen – but the person incriminated refuses to leave the U.S. Consulate grounds.

Ankara, as retaliation, decided to suspend the issuance of visas to U.S. citizens almost immediately.

A very good idea would be to bring this issue to the foreign ministerial level and see what can be done to defuse the escalation of the situation. This is not a minor political incident – it is a first since the founding of the Republic of Turkey. Obviously, Turkey will not and cannot give away its staunch alliance with the U.S., which goes back to the Truman Doctrine in 1947.

At a time when Turkey's external relations are in a very delicate phase and when the U.S. president's decisions are very unpredictable, such strife between Turkey and the U.S. is at the least very unwelcome. Neither the U.S. nor Turkey have the margins for maneuvering to enter a political crisis whose reasons are at best unclear.

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