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Thread: Split up Iraq - then split up the world

  1. #1

    Split up Iraq - then split up the world

    Quiz question: what country is simultaneously the most peaceful, wealthiest in the world and also split among three different tribes of wildly varying demographic weight? If you guessed Iraq, you got two out of three wrong. The answer is: Switzerland.

    Switzerland achieves this long-lasting political stability by being divided into 26 confederated autonomous cantons with nearly homogeneous demographics. As a consequence of the small size of each canton (the biggest has 1.2 million souls, the smallest only 15,000) the country is committed to free market economics, and regardless no other economic order could be maintained peacefully in an ethnically heterogeneous country. The country as a whole does not have an official religion, but the cantons fund their respective churches through taxation. source: wikipedia

    The civil war in Iraq will continue as long as the Sunni minority believes that Shia demographics will be enough to crush them at the polls. When a whole population is your enemy it makes your war strategy rather clear: kill the population. That was the strategy in Algeria and Rwanda a decade ago. Nobody won. In Iraq, suicide bombers make the strategy even easier. If the Anglo-American occupation wants peace restored in Iraq it will have to resort to segregation. Cantonize Iraq along ethnic lines. Make the cantons at least 90% homogeneous. The rest of the population will be dislocated but there will be many safe places to head to. Disband the national army and replace it with cantonal defense forces. That leaves only one remaining issue that anyone cares about: the country's oil wealth. Since there is no legitimate claim to property emerging from the Hussein regime the ministry of oil should be incorporated, separated from any political meddling, and one fully exchangeable share should be issued to every living Iraqi. Cantons will not own the oil already the property of the Iraqi Oil Company under homesteading principles.

    Once this is done, the same process should be applied to the rest of the world, especially the United States and Israel-Palestine, so that no such waste of lives ever occurs again.

    Since this is cyburbia and we love that stuff here's a bonus picture, thanks wikipedia.

  2. #2

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    Beleive it or not, I like smaller states (and smaller corporations).

    I still rermain skeptical.

    For every Switzerland in history, there are ten or a thousand medieval/Renaissance era Tuscannies, riven with constant warfare.

    As bad as the centralized state can be, localized ethnically pure regimes can be pretty dangerous, too, to their neighbors as well as their own populations. Plus, you are understating the advantages of cosmopolitan empires and imperial cities. How could the United States easily be "broken up" without an amazingly gruesome and violent cultural and ethnic sorting process?

    Finally, how will these small states deal with the realities of centralized economic power? I know you trust "the amrket" to sort such things out, but I remain more skeptical.

  3. #3
    OR....perhaps they should make like India and Pakistan. Split the country in half and remain mortal enemies with a geographic border.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    Quiz question: what country is simultaneously the most peaceful, wealthiest in the world and also split among three different tribes of wildly varying demographic weight? If you guessed Iraq, you got two out of three wrong. The answer is: Switzerland.
    It's a brilliant idea.

    Not without its faults Switzerland has been on the forefront of democracy for 600 years. Of course, this wasn't a country that decided to split up but rather, different kingdoms that decided to come together on the basic (anarchist) principles of voluntary cooperation and mutual aid.

    Swiss cities are quite cosmopolitan - or as cosmopolitan as they can be for cities under 300,000 people. Of course, it's a landlocked country with no colonial history or aspiration so immigration is based almost solely on the swiss need for skilled workers.

    While jaws probably came to this idea on his own there are books written on more or less the same idea . . .


    and, unfortunately, there are people so frightened by the idea - because of the money and power they would lose as a result - that they would fignt you to the bitter end. Orwell's experience with such a war saw 1 million people die.


    The US could split up rather easily into 3-5 separate entities the same way we do everything else here - as a legal process. It could be a perfectly plodding and deliberate process of devolution. Imagine us reversing to something a bit less centralized than the EU . . . and then perhaps a bit further

    I think, BKM, that you're overstating the need for ethnic homogeneity (as if it didn't already exist to some degree here anyway). The differences here are much more cultural/political than they are ethnic. We can't look at it solely in terms of today's mass immigration - that won't last much longer. For the rest of us who have been here for 2 generations of more, we speak the same language (mostly), share similar traditions, and depending on region share similar social attitudes.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Globetrotter
    OR....perhaps they should make like India and Pakistan. Split the country in half and remain mortal enemies with a geographic border.
    That's not exaclty how it happened. hindus and muslims, while concentrated in particular areas, had always intermingled and lived throughout all 3 of today's separate countries. After the partition, which created new religious majorities, people quickly packed their bags and moved to "their side of the border" as they saw tensions rise.

    This was the strategy of almost every colonial power and even played out during the unification of Turkey with tensions between Greeks and Turks.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  6. #6
    The separation of India into Hindu and Muslim states was made necessary by the new Indian government's commitment to socialism and economic central planning. Minorities always hate being taxed so that their work can benefit some other ethnic group, and they fight back.

    The division would have been unnecessary if India had been decentralized, but then that would have run counter to the revolutionary leadership's socialist dreams.
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    As bad as the centralized state can be, localized ethnically pure regimes can be pretty dangerous, too, to their neighbors as well as their own populations. Plus, you are understating the advantages of cosmopolitan empires and imperial cities. How could the United States easily be "broken up" without an amazingly gruesome and violent cultural and ethnic sorting process?

    Finally, how will these small states deal with the realities of centralized economic power? I know you trust "the amrket" to sort such things out, but I remain more skeptical.
    How do small states today like Luxemburg or Hong Kong deal with centralized economic power? They don't, and they don't need to. And why are you more afraid of the hypothetical threat of concentrated economic power than you are of the real threat of concentrated political power? At least with an economic power you can always choose not to pay. If you don't pay a political power, it will send a nice group of armed men to serve you a friendly reminder of your obligations.

    Ethnically pure regimes can be dangerous to their own population (especially the extremist purist like Khmer Rouge) but only if the institutions don't support freedom of movement. If the population can easily walk away then oppression is going to be nearly impossible to sustain.

    Imperial cities are cities that suck up taxation from vassal cities and countries to support their own bloated bureaucracies. Washington D.C. is one such city. It has nothing to offer to the world except institutionalized theft and murder. I don't know why you think the USA couldn't be broken up, it is already fairly ethnically homogeneous, at least as compared to Switzerland or Iraq.
    Last edited by jaws; 15 Feb 2006 at 5:22 PM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally posted by jresta

    I think, BKM, that you're overstating the need for ethnic homogeneity (as if it didn't already exist to some degree here anyway). The differences here are much more cultural/political than they are ethnic. We can't look at it solely in terms of today's mass immigration - that won't last much longer. For the rest of us who have been here for 2 generations of more, we speak the same language (mostly), share similar traditions, and depending on region share similar social attitudes.
    Actually, I was responding to the O.P's original post and its reference to ethnically homogenous enclaves. He may not even be supporting such purity himself, but he included this factor as one of the key elements of his example of a successful small state confederation.

    Again, I find some of these ideas very appealing. Heck, as a leftwing-leaning agnostic coastal resident, I don't particularly want to be ruled by conservative Texans or Southerners anymore (sorry Texans ). Where I react negatively is the whole theme of "the state is always bad. Private markets are always good.

    As we've discussed before, mutualism does have its appeal to me as well. I find the concept of a City State very interesting and appealing. At the same time, many regions dominated by city states were characterized by endemic internecine warfare, aggressive conflicts with neighbors, repressive and corrupt local elites. Of course, such states cannot have the pernicious widespread effects of empires, but they are not paradises, either.

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