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FORMER CATALAN MP: Here's why Catalonia should secede from Spain, and why it won't

FORMER CATALAN MP: Here's why Catalonia should secede from Spain, and why it won't | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"What a non-independent people fear most is the possibility of being swallowed up by the dominant alien culture in their midst, and that's the likely outcome for Catalans under the Spanish rule. Don’t be surprised if they increasingly opt out of Spain and choose outright independence instead...there will never ever be a self-defeating Spanish government willing to risk losing Catalonia: 16% of its population, 19% of its G.D.P., 24% of its exports, a net provider of 20 billion euros ($22.3 billion) in siphoned taxes every year."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This op-ed piece is overtly pro-Catalonian independence so there is no attempt to be fair and balanced, but that bias is a strength because it so clearly frames the political and cultural issues from a Catalonian Nationalist perspective. This article is a great way to show students how some members of a particular group that is seeking greater autonomy or independence perceives the relationship between their region and the larger state.


Questions to Ponder: How might a representative of the Spanish government frame the debate differently? What are key reasons that the author does not envision full Catalonian independence soon? How would you frame the issues? What other example do you think is analogous to this political situation?

Tags: op-ed, Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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Bridgitte's curator insight, March 2, 9:24 AM

This op-ed piece is overtly pro-Catalonian independence so there is no attempt to be fair and balanced, but that bias is a strength because it so clearly frames the political and cultural issues from a Catalonian Nationalist perspective. This article is a great way to show students how some members of a particular group that is seeking greater autonomy or independence perceives the relationship between their region and the larger state.


Questions to Ponder: How might a representative of the Spanish government frame the debate differently? What are key reasons that the author does not envision full Catalonian independence soon? How would you frame the issues? What other example do you think is analogous to this political situation?

Tags: op-ed, Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomy, Europe, culture.

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Why Somaliland is not a recognized state

Why Somaliland is not a recognized state | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"SOMALILAND, a slim slice of Somali-inhabited territory on the southern shore of the Gulf of Aden, ticks almost all the boxes of statehood. It has its own currency, a reasonably effective bureaucracy and a trained army and police force. But it has yet to receive official recognition from a single foreign government in the years since it declared independence in 1991. To the outside world, it is an autonomous region of Somalia, subject to the Somali Federal Government (SFG) in Mogadishu. Why is it not a state?  Throughout the post-independence era, geopolitics in Africa has tended to respect 'colonial borders', i.e. the borders laid down by European colonial powers in the 19th century. Across the continent, there have been only two significant alterations to the colonial map since the 1960s: the division of Eritrea from Ethiopia, in 1993; and South Sudan from Sudan, in 2011."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Somaliland is a 'pocket of stability in a chaotic region.' The global community fears that granting recognition to a Somaliland might led to further devolution, even if the unrecognized government is functioning.  This is an excellent article from the Economist that demonstrates some of the key requirements to be a state, political and regional geography.  For another example of political geography of aspiring states, here is an article about the limited prospects of a future Kurdish state.      

 

Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, sovereignty, autonomy, unit 4 political, Somalia, Africa.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 19, 2015 1:35 PM

unit 4

Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 19, 2015 1:35 PM

unit 4

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 14, 2015 11:55 PM

Like many new developing countries, it is hard to overcome the hardships to prove that you deserve to be recognized as a new nation. Being recognized as a true nation means that there is political and economic stability within a country. The area where Somaliland is located is very unstable. Its parent nation, Somalia is very unstable. For example, in Somalia, there are pirates who hijack mariners and take them and the vessel hostage. Stability within a country is a major aspect for the international community to look at to recognize new countries.

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Forget Sykes-Picot. It’s the Treaty of Sèvres That Explains the Modern Middle East.

Forget Sykes-Picot. It’s the Treaty of Sèvres That Explains the Modern Middle East. | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Ninety-five years ago today, European diplomats gathered at a porcelain factory in the Paris suburb of Sèvres and signed a treaty to remake the Middle East from the ashes of the Ottoman empire. The plan collapsed so quickly we barely remember it anymore, but the short-lived Treaty of Sèvres, no less than the endlessly discussed Sykes-Picot agreement, had consequences that can still be seen today. We might do well to consider a few of them as the anniversary of this forgotten treaty quietly passes by.


Tags: devolutionhistorical, political, states, borders, political, Turkey.

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Tania Gammage's curator insight, August 18, 2015 7:32 PM

Geography, Science, Legal Studies

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Scottish Independence

"Scotland is about to vote on whether to secede from the UK. There are solid arguments on both sides."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Admittedly, this video is filled with stereotypes, bad words and a strong political bias all delivered in John Oliver's trademark style--it's also filled with incorrect statements which I hope most people can recognize as humor, but it captures college students' attention.  If, however, you are looking for a more insightful piece, I recommend Jeffrey Sach's article titled "The Price of Scottish Independence," or this summary of the 9 issues that would confront an independent Scotland.  Independence in Europe today doesn't mean what it used to, and this vote will be fascinating regardless of the outcome.    


Tags: devolution, supranationalism, politicalEurope, UK.

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Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 5, 2014 12:21 PM

I support Scotland independence! Mother England should understand the current Scotland need more freedom of speech and decisions. This a good example of a peacefully claim of independence, instead of the bloody war (remember England?). The video... Is too funny to take it seriously. 

Louis Mazza's curator insight, February 27, 2015 7:34 AM

Scotland is vying for its independence from the United Kingdom, becoming free from London and its own Country. Here john Oliver analyzes the issue and provides a decent background history while stabbing lots of jokes and puns into his commentary. So basically England and Scotland got into an arranged marriage as Oliver phrased it, forming the United Kingdom some 300 years ago. Oliver goes on to say Scotland got the bad end of the philosophical relationship, setting up reasons for Scotland ambition to possibly leave. For the last 2 ½ years there has been a campaign for this independence, where Scotts feel they can better run the country they live in. Scotland is a liberal country ran by the conservative country England. These are the reasons that set up this split.   

Edgar Manasseh Jr.'s curator insight, March 7, 2015 9:27 PM

This video is hilarious and John Oliver pokes fun at the Scottish, the little brother trying to lobby themselves for independence. Great video to watch hilarious, and also informative at the same time.

 

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Scotland's Decision

Scotland's Decision | Geography Education | Scoop.it
From Catalonia to Kurdistan, nationalist and separatist movements in Europe and beyond are watching the Scottish independence referendum closely.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This issue reverberates on many different scales.  As the video embedded in this article demonstrates,  Scotland's choice on September 18th would obviously impact the local region as some seek to use Scottish history as a rationale to reshape the current political and cultural identity of the region.  Some of the votes are already in and Scottish independence would not only have the potential to reshape the UK and EU, but it could also add some fervor to the various other separatist movements around the world, such as Catalonia.  


Tags: devolutionhistorical, supranationalism, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political.

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Nancy Watson's curator insight, September 14, 2014 11:36 AM

Scotland, the site of nationalist and separatist movements, is one to watch as they vote. What the ramifications would be are yet to be seen

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 5, 2015 3:01 PM

It is interesting to see how globalization does as much to bring us together as it does to rip us apart. The exchange of ideas, goods, and people has hugely impacted the lives of everyday citizens and the nations that they call home, where divisions among people are felt more keenly as the competition in today's global economy grows stronger. Catalonia, the region that has done much to keep the economy of the Spanish nation afloat, and Catalans are eager to shed the "dead weight" they feel they are carrying; the Basque region has long since demanded its independence, and we have already seen the fracturing of the Balkans. In some instances, perhaps separation is for the best. However, I feel like these movements are the result of knee-jerk reactions to the current economic climate and deep, underlying hatreds that have no place in the current world order. Spain has been one nation for hundreds of years, as has the United Kingdom; to suddenly dissolve these unions in the name of century-long feuds seems not only unnecessary, but almost child-like. There is enough hatred in the world- why let us continue to divide amongst ourselves when history has shown that people in these regions can coexist and can consistently pull through these difficult periods. It is one thing to be proud of being Scottish- it is another to ignore the economic and political realities of what Scottish independence would bring for its people for the sake of this nationalist sentiment. I, for one, was relieved to see Scotland vote to remain a member of the UK. Separatist movements across the continent have been quieted, if only for another few years.

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 15, 2015 1:16 AM

The Scottish vote for independence would have broken up a modern United Kingdom. Many Scottish folks feel that it is time to separate from a parent country where there are many other countries that are involved. Becoming independent is not an easy task. There has to be a vote and a strong position for those separatists to succeed in getting a victorious vote.

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Why Paris doesn't want a Scottish Yes

Why Paris doesn't want a Scottish Yes | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Nothing unites different nations quite like mutual enemies. But the 'Auld Alliance' between Scotland and France - both historic rivals of England - doesn't mean that the French government favours Scottish independence. Far from it."

Seth Dixon's insight:

Historically, France has supported greater autonomy or independence as a way to limit English political power and influence.  However in the era of the E.U. and greater regional integration, modern geopolitics makes this old alliance untenable as some in Scotland are seeking independence from the United Kingdom.  

 

Tags: devolutionhistorical, supranationalism, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political, geopolitics.

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Kevin Barker's curator insight, August 19, 2014 8:59 AM

I was surprised to listen to the affection that Scotland and France have towards each other but I wasn't surprised to hear France's concerns about the further division of countries within the EU.  What is it about the independence of Scotland that causes the French government to be concerned?

MsPerry's curator insight, August 25, 2014 3:30 PM

APHG-Unit 4

Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 14, 2014 1:50 PM

Even though in past years France and Scotland have been friendly and wanted the best for each other, Scottish independence is not on the list of things to do for France.  They have good blood together, sharing foods, music and alcohol at festivals there is no need to worry about any hatred happening even if the French does not back Scotland's independence.  While some think that France would think that areas like Brittany and Corsica would want independence from France that is not the reason.  To keep checks and balances in place a strong United Kingdom is needed to keep Germany in line.  With the independence of Scotland, the UK gets a little bit weaker and France is not okay with that.

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40 Maps That Explain The Middle East

40 Maps That Explain The Middle East | Geography Education | Scoop.it
These maps are crucial for understanding the region's history, its present, and some of the most important stories there today.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Titles like the one for this article, 40 maps that explain the Middle East, are becoming increasingly common for internet articles.  They helps us feel that we can explain all of the world's complexities and make sense of highly dynamic situations.  While we can all agree that maps are great analytical tools that can be very persuasive, sometimes we can pretend that they are the end all, be all for any situation.  Maps can also be used to show how something that we thought was simple can be much complex and nuanced than we had previously imagined, as demonstrated by this article, 15 Maps that Don't Explain the Middle East at All.  Both perspectives have their place (and both articles are quite insightful). Not connected to the Middle East, but East Asia, this article entitled Lies, Damned Lies and Maps continues the discussion of maps, truth and perception. 

 

Tags: MiddleEast, conflict, political, borders, colonialism, devolution, historical, mapping.

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David Lizotte's curator insight, March 11, 2015 4:44 PM

This was an excellent portrayal of the middle east. The using of maps accompanied by side paragraphs explains the long history which is necessary to know if one is to understand its current status. When learning about different realms and regions (that existed throughout history) I always find it on a map. In order to truly understand a certain empire, one must know its geographical setting and its significance. It helps me better understand the region. These maps, specifically the ones that are changing through the domains reign, are extremely helpful in better comprehending the misunderstood middle eastern region. This website also creates more thought. If a particular map captivates the reader they can do more research on the topic. However, the "slides" do stand alone portraying much knowledge to a wide variety of specific elements that are still ongoing. The grouping of the slides by region/conflict/country was also an excellent strategy. It shows organization which in turn develops an easier learning process. 

The initial map educates many people of how what is modern day Iraq used to be an Oasis. However, over time, due to over farming and soil erosion the landscape changed to dry/desert territory. 

The maps displaying the rise of Islam and its transitioning into the Ottoman Empire give a great perspective as to the amount of land it covered. The Islamic world thrived and was very advanced in there culture in regards to medicine and arithmetic. The shear size of the empires should increase ones respect of the Islamic theatre. What many people are not aware of is how the Ottoman Empire was knocking on the door of the Holy Roman Empire during the sixteenth century. This was quite an advancement of territory crossing through much of eastern Europe ending as far west as Vienna. A lot of what is Eastern Europe today was part of the Ottoman Empire, including Greece. 

Another excellent map that contributes to the better understanding of western involvement can be seen in the carving up of the Ottoman Empire post WWI. Colonialism was very much present throughout less developed regions so the carving up of the middle east was not an exotic concept to the victorious west. Territories/countries were created and ethnic groups dominated one another. Its certainly true a western presence has contributed to prior and existing issues throughout the middle East.

 

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, March 15, 2015 8:47 PM

It is interesting to see the same trends over and over again.  These maps are a great tool to show the history of the area, as well as the history of religion and political views.  I appreciate the information provided since the Middle East has undergone the most transitions (going all the way back to Mesopotamia) and its history can be confusing. 

Matt Ramsdell's curator insight, December 7, 2015 5:18 PM

These 40 maps are a very interesting way of showing how people have traveled around and moved about the Earth from the time of the fertile crescent era to the people of today. It shows us the paths that people have taken to move to a new location. How they used the Meditteranean Sea to move from one side to the other. It also shows how the Tigris and Euphrates came together to form a smaller area of the Persian gulf. This led to smalled economic growth because now there is less land for imports and exports.

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Iraq's Current Devolution

"A radical fringe Islamic group names ISIS is fighting to establish a extremist Islamic state in Iraq and Syria...and beyond. They control eastern Syria, western Iraq, just took control of Iraq's 2nd largest city of Mosul and are advancing on the capital Baghdad.  In this podcast, the professor John Boyer outlines just a few of the contributing factors to why this significant event is taking place, the geographic/historic background of the state, and the consequences for the future of the region."

Seth Dixon's insight:

If you haven't yet discovered John Boyer, a.k.a. the Plaid Avenger,  I recommend exploring his site.  He has numerous resources for world regional geography and current global affairs.  His colorful persona is highly entertaining for college age-students as his class attracts over 3,000 students each semester (you can decide for yourself whether that personality works for you and your classroom).  This particular 'plaidcast' discussion focuses on Iraq's current devolution and possible total collapse. 


Tags: SyriaIraq, MiddleEast, conflict, political, geopoliticsborders, colonialism, devolution.

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Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, June 23, 2014 12:27 PM

unit 4

Michael Mazo's curator insight, October 6, 2014 3:04 PM

Iraq's position in regards to the militant groups has steadily affected the countries global and economic status in more ways than one. As these militant groups such as ISIS continue to grow then so will their territory and intensity of self-less acts. Not only are these groups a disease to the world but they affect the way our global economy works. ISIS controls oil fields and vast amounts of land in Iraq, Syria and other middle-eastern countries. In my opinion, America's decision to fire airstrikes onto these militant groups could be both good and bad. Good because it will decrease the amount of ISIS members but bad because it could be an incentive for ISIS to cause further damage and chaos in reference to revenge. At this pace, ISIS and other such groups will gain claimed territory in which will come at the cost of innocent lives of women and children. They must be stopped before issues get worse.

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Quebec Voters Say 'Non' to Separatists

Quebec Voters Say 'Non' to Separatists | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Quebec voters gave a resounding no to the prospects of holding a third referendum on independence from Canada, handing the main separatist party in the French-speaking province one of its worst electoral defeats ever."  


Quebec, which is 80 percent French-speaking, has plenty of autonomy already. The province of 8.1 million sets its own income tax, has its own immigration policy favoring French speakers, and has legislation prioritizing French over English.  But many Quebecois have long dreamed of an independent Quebec, as they at times haven't felt respected and have worried about the survival of their language in English-speaking North America.


TagsCanadapolitical, devolution.

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Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 14, 2014 6:32 PM

The politics of Quebec are interesting to say the least. Originally founded by the French in the 17th century and then later conquered by the English in the late 18th century Canada is a nation with a mix if influences. While much of Canada today is something of a standard English colony Quebec has desperately hung on to it's French roots. In Quebec City their are laws ensuring that all store signs are in French, even making sure the font is large enough. In spite of their dogged interest in preserving their culture they've voted against spiting from the body of Canada repeatedly. This is largely because even the more die hard French Canadians know their small territory is unable to economically survive on its own.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, January 29, 2015 2:57 PM

This article is interesting to me, due to the fact that part of my family is French Canadian.  I have always found it interesting how the Quebecois have tried to become their own country but could never quite pull it off.  In fact, I had a teacher in high school who was from the Canadian Mid-West and disliked French Canadians, however he said that although the French community is different from the rest of Canada, he believed that separation was not going to happen.  This article shows that the Parti Quebecois will, for the time being, have to regroup and "clean the salt from their wounds" from this defeat.  For now, it appears Quebec is not going anywhere.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, September 17, 2015 8:39 AM

This is quite a turnaround from the vote that you showed us in class from the mid 90s. The younger generations that have come of ages sense the previous vote are most likely non separatists. Overall I think this just about ends the talk of an independent Quebec. The nation of Canada is best when unified, as is every other state on the globe. This result, along with the results of the proposed Scottish separation seem to indicate that the wave of separation is dying out. Though I honestly think that theses movements never had much of a chance anyway.

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Take Me Home, Mother Russia

Take Me Home, Mother Russia | Geography Education | Scoop.it
10 places that would welcome a Putin landgrab, and 10 parts of Russia that want the hell out.
Seth Dixon's insight:

One of the ideological weaknesses in the idea that Russia should annex Crimea because of the large number of ethnic Russians that want to join the Russian Federation, is that there are many places within the Russian Federation without a majority of ethnic Russians that would want out of the Russian Federation.  This list from Foreign Policy is pretty intriguing and they provide insight about the geographic context for each place on the list.

Top 10 looking for a way into Russia (abbreviated)

  1. Transnistria
  2. Donbass
  3. New Russia
  4. Abkhazia
  5. South Ossetia
  6. Belarus
  7. Northern Kazakhstan
  8. Russians in the Baltic
  9. Nagorno Karabakh
  10. Brighton Reach, Brooklyn


Top 10 look for a way out of Russia:

  1. Chechnya
  2. Tatarstan
  3. Idel-Ural
  4. Kalmykia
  5. Kaliningrad
  6. Karelia
  7. Komi Republic
  8. Circassia
  9. Karachay-Balkaria
  10. Birobizhan
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Kevin Barker's curator insight, March 22, 2014 10:03 AM

For every argument to aquire land based on ethnic boundaries, there is at least one that would argue land should be lost. This would apply to essentially any country in the world. 

Paige Therien's curator insight, May 4, 2014 10:57 AM

In the recent light of the Crimea annexation and following conflict, many are questioning what Russia's next move will be and how this region may change in the future.  The former USSR encomassed a huge amount of land, and therefore many different ethnic groups.  Of course this has always been a problem, and this article illustrates how it probably always will be a problem.  As politics and cultures in different countries change, people will favor either secession or affiliation due to these centripetal or centrifugal forces .  While some may be far-fetched (Siberia and Brooklyn), it is important to remember that as long as there are some people who are in favor, there may be conflict at same scale.

Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 5, 2015 2:43 PM

This article is interesting because it shows that as Russia could potentially gain land, it could also lose parts of the country as well.  I thought the Brooklyn Beach point was funny due to Putin's argument that wherever Russians live should be Russia (Crimea).  I don't think the United States would ever let this happen though, even if it is just a single part of NY, the US would never let Russia back onto the North American Continent after buying Alaska from them back in the 1800s.  I also thought it was an intriguing point to state that China could try to make a move at getting Siberia from Russia.  I personally don't think that Russia would willingly give up a resource rich region of its nation to China easily, and if China wanted to buy the region, I'd bet Putin would make them pay a pretty penny for the area.  The fact that Russia is such a varied nation, especially in the south of the nation, is not surprising due to winning the land from the Ottomans, and the best thing Russia could do, in the case of Chechnya would be to let them go.  This way the country could achieve a lasting peace, rather than always fighting campaigns against the region, which as a result, will make the people hate the Russian government even more.  However, I do not think Putin will allow his country to decrease in size, Putin only wants increases.

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Issues with Ukrainian Nationalism

Issues with Ukrainian Nationalism | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Images of toppled statues notwithstanding, 'revolution' has never been the right word to describe recent events in Kiev. Ukraine, after all, has been here before. At the heart of the country’s present struggle is its resistance to any 'strategic partnership' with Russia and its understanding of Europe as a potential economic and political savior from corrupt government. But the tensions between East and West -- both psychological and geographic -- are deeply rooted in Ukraine's national identity. Those Ukrainians most concerned about their country’s future would do well to recognize that identity’s inherent fragility. The original generation of Ukrainian nationalists suffered precisely for their failure to do so."

Seth Dixon's insight:

This image (hi-res here) and those like it captured me while I was looking for more information on Ukraine's opposition leaders


Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict, devolution.

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Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 2014 11:43 AM

The situation in Ukraine with the tensions between the East and West are something that could possibly cause WWIII, and that is something that fears a lot of people. The former power of the Soviet Union and corrupt government is embedded in Ukraine's national identity with many different ethnic groups speaking different languages.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 12:39 PM

This image that we see here is astonishing. The Maidan (Independence Square)  in Kiev is a beautiful place and to see it look like this is breathtaking (in a bad way). The whole problem with this situation is, you have the Ukrainian Nationalists living on the West that want to be part of the EU and you have the Ukrainian Pro Russians living on the East that want to be part of Russia. Due to protesting at Maidan, because of Yanukovych not signing  an agreement with the EU, the Police, Berkut and Titushky are called in to take care of the situation and a lot of this led to violence between the weaponized forces and the pretty much defenseless protesters. The problem is, half the country wants to be free from "tyranny" and have the free lives of Europeans, while the other half see's themselves as part of Russia and nothing else. 

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No union, no pound, British official warns Scots backing independence

No union, no pound, British official warns Scots backing independence | Geography Education | Scoop.it
LONDON – Escalating the fight against secession, the British government warned Thursday that Scotland would lose the right to continue using the pound as its currency if voters there say yes to a historic referendum on independence this fall.


Osborne’s stark warning, delivered in a speech in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, represented a new willingness by unionists to take a hard line in persuading Scottish voters to shun independence in a September plebiscite. A thumbs-up would end Scotland’s 307-year-old marriage to England and Wales and cause the biggest political shakeup in the British Isles since Ireland split from the British crown nearly a century ago.


Sturgeon predicted that “what the Treasury says now in the heat of the campaign would be very different to what they say after a democratic vote for independence, when common sense would trump the campaign rhetoric.”

Seth Dixon's insight:

This is an intriguing strategic move by the UK as Scotland considers  independence.  Some have argued that this move will backfire and push more Scottish voters into the "yes" camp.  In related news, the BBC reports that EU officials say that an independent Scotland would have a hard time joining the European Union.  


Tags: devolutionpolitical, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political, currency, economic.
.

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Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 9:40 AM

The countries of Britain want their independence. Scotland uses the pound just like England and Wales but its being threatened that the government might take away that right to use that monetary system. 

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Security Still A Major Concern In Sochi

ESPN Video: Jeremy Schaap details the threats to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Seth Dixon's insight:

It's not everyday that ESPN will use terms like insurgency, region, state, suicide bombs, attacks, threats, heightened security, terrorists and black widows during a video clip, but when they do it's worth paying attention to the geographic context of their story.  Here is an additional NY Times interactive, also on the geopolitical context of Sochi.


Tags: sport, political, conflict, devolution, Russia.

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Jessica Rieman's curator insight, February 18, 2014 2:14 PM

Security is a major concern in Sochi! There have been suicide bombers and many other forms of bomb threats. The athletes are under MAX security and in my opinion need to be because they are in danger because of the way their society is over there and the current issues they have been dealing or not dealing with.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 18, 2014 2:57 PM

The Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia concern many across the globe. Located very close to neighboring terrorists, Olympic athletes question whether it is safe to go or not. ESPN discusses the concerns, threats and  increase of security at the games this year. 

Jess Deady's curator insight, April 30, 2014 8:29 PM

The Olympic games only come around every four years. From a spectators point of view, these games are a worldwide phenomenon. Millions of people will be watching them from home and in attendance in Sochi. Threats against HUGE events like these need to be taken seriously. Whether or not they are realistic, with so many lives in potential danger Russia needs to take the threats seriously.

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Timeline of the Breakup of Yugoslavia

Map animation depicting the break up of Yugoslavia through the series of political upheavals and conflicts that occurred from the early 1990's onwards. Different areas of control are colour coded.

 

Tags: devolutionhistorical, political, states, borders, political, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia.

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Catalonia independence: Parliament votes to start secession from Spain

Catalonia independence: Parliament votes to start secession from Spain | Geography Education | Scoop.it
The Spanish region of Catalonia adopts a resolution supporting independence from Spain, but Spain's PM says his government will challenge it.


Tags: Catalonia, Spain, political, devolution, autonomyEurope, culture.

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Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 11:45 AM

I've never heard of this country until recently when I came across a video on youtube about it. In my opinion, Catalonia has the right to secede from Spain because there are many ethnic group wanting their own dependence around the world and it doesn't feel like it's a part of another country. However, it all comes down to politics and Spain wants as much territory as it can get. Plus Catalonia is doing pretty for itself and the Spanish definitely want a part of that.

Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 1:25 PM

the Catalonia independence movement is just a small part of a large number of regions which were once autonomous and wish to be again. with so many of these areas in Europe the independence movements are finding hard to get support from other nations.

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 15, 2015 1:29 AM

Challenging succession is a difficult task. First of all, there has to be a vote by the people and there has to be a strong driving force to get a positive outcome on the vote. The Prime Minister of Spain claims he will try to block it by filing a suit with the Constitutional Court. Succession of a country faces many hurdles especially if it does not have a strong vote to succeed and the opposition vote is strong.

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Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire

Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Animated GIF map chronicling the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire." 


Tagsempire, devolutionMiddle East, borders, historical, map.

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Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 5:47 AM

Many of the problems the Middle East faces today, are a result of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was aligned with Germany and Austria- Hungary to form the central powers. Following their defeat in the war, the empire collapsed in the ensuing chaos. The victorious allies divided up the ottoman territory amongst themselves. The Borders and nations they created, were poorly designed. They failed to take into account the wide divergences of ethnic groups in the Middle East. The artificial nations they constructed, were ripe for ethnic conflict.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 7, 2015 2:33 PM

The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire can be clearly seen at the beginning and the end. They had a massive territory expansion at 1300 and it bloomed from there. from then to 1900 then only had some minor changes with some changes in territory. At the end, in 1900s was the most significant change with the Empire collapsing with the Republic of Turkey being established in 1923.  

Nicholas A. Whitmore's curator insight, December 13, 2015 3:39 PM

A fascinating look into the shifting nature of borders through history. Unfortunately it also reflects many atrocities that also occurred in those years. Geographically the Empire wouldn't last given its difficult to defend borders. Additionally its extremely conservative Political and Cultural nature made it nearly impossible for it to adapt to changing times in technology. Which is ironic in a way because it was their innovation that sparked the Empire and the seizure of Constantinople to begin with. Also it should perhaps be mentioned that the current nation of Turkeys borders are an unnatural creation on the part of the Turks when they were aware their Empire would collapse. This unfortunately also means this map hides events such as the Armenian Genocide to try and purify Anatolia so that the Turks could claim it as its sole homeland while abandoning the rest of the Empire (so in effect they consolidated to try and keep as much land as possible).

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Scottish Independence: New flag for UK?

Scottish Independence: New flag for UK? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Members of the Flag Institute have created designs for what the Union Flag could look like in the event of independence
Seth Dixon's insight:

I've already posted various links this week on Scottish independence and what it might mean, but I think these two are also worth considering.  Flags are the great icons of state identity, and a UK without Scotland might reconsider it iconography.  This links to an article from the Telegraph and a photogallery with 12 'candidate flags' for a UK that does not include Scotland.  Why might some resist the idea of creating a new national symbol?


Tags: devolutionhistorical, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political, UK.

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Jason Schneider's curator insight, February 12, 2015 6:03 PM

The UK flag is known for representing a union between England and Scotland. It's known as the "Union Jack." The white on the UK flag represents peace peace and honesty and the blue represents loyalty and truth. It's a shame that those two colors have to change to Black and Yellow which I don't know what those colors would represent. If you put a Scottish flag with a UK flag, you won't find any yellow or black so I believe that Scotland is trying to exclude England and Scotland's alike colors such as blue and white and try to create a stronger equal union with England.

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Fragile States Index

Fragile States Index | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Weak and failing states pose a challenge to the international community. In today’s world, with its highly globalized economy, information systems and interlaced security, pressures on one fragile state can have serious repercussions not only for that state and its people, but also for its neighbors and other states halfway across the globe.  The Fragile States Index (FSI), produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure."

Seth Dixon's insight:

How can political stability and security be measured?  What constitutes effective governance?  The Fragile States Index (formerly known as the Failed States Index) is a statistical ranking designed to measure the effective political institutions across the globe.  There are  12 social, economic, and political/military categories that are a part of the overall rankings and various indicators are parts of the metrics that are a part of this index are:

SOCIAL

•Demographic Pressures 

•Refugees/IDPs

•Group Grievance

•Human Flight and Brain Drain

ECONOMIC

•Uneven Economic Development

•Poverty and Economic Decline

POLITICAL/MILITARY

•State Legitimacy

•Human Rights and Rule of Law

•Public Services

•Security Apparatus

•Factionalized Elites

•External Intervention


Tags: political, statisticsdevelopment, territoriality, sovereignty, conflict, political, devolution, war.

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Melissa Marshall's curator insight, August 28, 2014 12:57 AM

How can political stability and security be measured? The Fragile States Index is a statistical ranking designed to measure the effective political institutions across the globe.

MsPerry's curator insight, September 1, 2014 9:49 AM

APHG-Unit 4

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Mosul Dam key win for Islamic State

Mosul Dam key win for Islamic State | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Islamic State's capture of the Mosul dam gives it control over the water and electricity supply in northern Iraq."

Seth Dixon's insight:

There is a geography to insurgency.   This dam controls both the energy and water resources in the region, which gives the insurgents/rebels/terrorists greater local power.  On a related noted, this op-ed entitled, "How America Lost the Middle East" has plenty of foreign policy and geopolitical material worth discussing.  


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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, October 30, 2014 10:00 PM

This is interesting, ISIS is not only using brute force as a scare tactic, but are also taking hold of natural resources as well.  In taking over the dam ISIS has control of not only a majority of Iraq's water supply but their power supply as well.  They are also threatening employees with loss of pay to do what they want.  Closing off some parts of the dam is preventing water to get to people who are in need.  If the dam was to get backed up too much it could have immediate failure creating a devastating flood wiping out areas of agriculture having the potential for mass civilian casualties.  ISIS is not just taking over everything that they can, but have a method to what they are doing.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 27, 2015 8:14 PM

As the director of the Brookings Institution's Doha Centre in Qatar said, "There's a method in their madness. By gaining control of the area ISIS can flood and destroy homes within the region. Furthermore, they can disrupt the flow of electricity and how the land is irrigated. All of this could cause a great deal of damage to the society. In this light the dam is a pretty important part of Iraq. The fact that ISIS Manipulated he land to their benefit it highly intelligent.  


However, if the dam was in the hand of the United States, the area still isn't completely safe. people would perceive it to be because ISIS would no longer be threatening to use it as an immediate weapon. However, the author noticed that the dam needs constant maintenance and is built on unstable soil. Both of which can cause flooding. In fact, the "worst case scenario" would cause far more damage than ISIS has with the dam. 


Clearly, purposefully using the resources of an area to damage a population is more chilling the a poorly made structure because malice involved. However even in the hands of the United States, the dam shows just how dangerous manipulating nature can be on a local population. 

Gene Gagne's curator insight, November 4, 2015 5:21 PM

This will have an enormous impact on drought for drinking, agriculture purposes or even the opposite.  This strategy could be used to flood the lands ruining agriculture.

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Would Turkey accept a Kurdish state?

Would Turkey accept a Kurdish state? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
As the likelihood of an independent Kurdish state on Turkey’s eastern border grows, Ankara is losing its historical resistance to the idea.


Developments in Iraq have left Turkey facing the prospect of an independent Kurdish state on its eastern border. Such an idea would have been abhorrent for Turkey a mere decade ago for fear that its existence would incite separation among its own restive Kurds. The standard Turkish narrative at the time was that an independent Kurdistan was a Western project aimed at destroying Turkey, an age-old ambition. Even the 2003 US invasion of Iraq was viewed in this context by many. The picture is no longer so black and white.

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MsPerry's curator insight, August 12, 2014 7:44 PM

APHG-U4

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 26, 2015 1:56 PM

The Kurdish people have longed for their own, independent nation for centuries, and it seems like the recent fission of Iraq has opened the door for their dream to become a reality. Although Turkey has long since been opposed to the existence of an ethnic Kurdish state (the result of its own sizable Kurdish minority), the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the subsequent military successes of the Kurds against militant Islamic groups have raised an important question: why don't they deserve their own nation? The Kurds have shown their dedication to the cause in combat, not shying away from the bloodshed that has gripped the region in the name of independence. Although the fracturing of the Iraqi state falls firmly against all official US and Turkey positions on the matter, the reality of the situation is far more complicated, and the supposed benefits of keeping Iraq together are seeming less and less worth the fighting. The Kurds have proven themselves capable of organizing, and they could perhaps add a new dimension of stability to the region.

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Venice wants out of Italy

Venice wants out of Italy | Geography Education | Scoop.it
VENICE, Italy – Venice, renowned for incomparable Gothic architecture and placid canals plied by gondolas that make it one of the most recognizable cities in the world, may have had enough of Italy.
Seth Dixon's insight:

Some of the wealthiest regions of the poorest countries of the European Union are seeking for greater regional autonomy and even independence.  As one resident said, "I have always felt as a Venetian first, and Italian second."  The scale at which people construct their primary identities and political loyalties play a key role to the political geographic concept of devolution, where power shifts from a central authority to more local control.  So independence moves are to start negotiating.  As another Venetian said, "I think we'll end up with a little more autonomy and a little more pride in our city" and not actual independence.


Tags: Italypoliticaleconomic, states, autonomy, devolution.

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David Lizotte's curator insight, February 20, 2015 12:48 PM

The Italian North, historically speaking was graced by the Industrial Revolution whereas the agricultural south never truly was. This is one of the reasons as to why Southern Italy has no money, there is simply no Industry. 

Throughout the 1800's Northern Italian States developed industry, going along with the rest of Western Europe. Being closer to the west certainly influenced this need of an industrial sector. Northern Italian provinces were also at once ruled by Napoleon, "The Kingdom of Italy" (1805-1814) thus having a share of western influence. In any case the Industrial Revolution reached Northern Italy. The production of war based machinery was developing throughout Europe, in case of another "Napoleon" like person. This created jobs, thus a fluctuation of money. This never reached the agrarian south. 

Southern Italy is not the only area to go untouched by Industry. Eastern Europe was very slow at developing and producing and it can be argued it still is. For example, look at Greece. It has very little industry and a horrid economy to complement it. Due to no industry/no money the North has to take care of the South with its taxes. Citizens of Northern Italy are getting tired of it and want to succeed. 

I understand why they want to succeed. But then what would happen with Southern Italy. It would just remain a tourist attraction with farmers scattered throughout the country side. It sounds nice but it probably isn't These people already have a low standard of living, Northern Italy succeeding would determine an even lower standard. 

A positive aspect of this article is that no one wants to bear arms over the issue. Its a peaceful movement, although there was a homemade tank made from a bulldozer, but still, its peaceful.  Could violence occur if not grow? Perhaps... if the economic loss is great enough to promote such an outcome. 

This article truly does pinpoint the fact that Italy is very much a divided country. The North claims they are a different people, a different identity. Perhaps its not just economic reasons but cultural aspects as well that generate the want of succession. In either case, both the economic and cultural reasonings are products of the Industrial Revolution gracing the North. 

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 16, 2015 3:03 PM

Nobody wants to feel like they're not in control and Venice is no different. Large money making cities or regions often try to break off from their states or countries. New York City has talked about becoming its own state (And with a population of 8.406 million as of 2013, it's bigger than some states) before defending that its taxes aren't going to it and that Albany isn't meeting its demands. Venice is in the same boat (dare I say gondola) and simply wants to have a little more autonomy like way back. Secession is a bold move to make and judging from the article, it seems as if it's not wanted by all and maybe just a little more interest in the region will be taken by the government. Sometimes making bold claims is all that's needed to get what you want.

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 6, 2015 9:58 PM

Venice is to Italy as Italy is to Venice.  I imagine it will stay this way forever.  I think if there are wealthy people who want to see the split happen then it will.  But just because a group want a movement started, it won't happen.  I imagine Venice will see a few more concessions in the future if this problem persists.  

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What the loss of Crimea really means for Ukraine

What the loss of Crimea really means for Ukraine | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"In symbolic terms, it's a huge loss. The Crimean Peninsula holds an important place in the region's history, and the inability to prevent the region from joining Russia is a serious test of leadership for the new Ukrainian government in Kiev.

In practical terms, however, what Crimea means for Ukraine is less clear. In an article last week, The Post's Will Englund noted that Crimea may end up costing Russia more than it might like. And what does Ukraine really lose?"

Seth Dixon's insight:

We often view global affairs through our own little prism, considering how it affects us.  So much of the discussion has revolved around Russia and the West in general (and the U.S. specifically), that Ukraine almost gets lost in the shuffle.  All this amid news that the acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister has said that the possibility of war "is growing."

Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict, devolution.

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Close-up of Kiev's Independence Square

Close-up of Kiev's Independence Square | Geography Education | Scoop.it

"Protests have centered on the capital's Independence Square, also known as the Maidan, where protesters had set up camp over a number of months. The stand-off turned violent this week as riot police moved in to clear the protest camp.  Security forces had given protesters a deadline of Tuesday 18 February to leave the square, but instead, violence took hold and battles between the demonstrators and police left a number of people dead. Independence Square, which for weeks was the setting for a mostly peaceful protest camp, now more closely resembles a siege, as the remaining protesters attempt to hold their ground."


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Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 2014 11:47 AM

This close up view of Kiev shows how the geographic location of its independence square was placed serves as a great place to protest. It represents the center, the circle of the city, close to the places of power; the government house, parliament. Its long streets lead to the capital's independence square the center for the country, but what started to be peaceful protests where an important monument stands, is now where violence takes place.

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Don't Give Up on a United Ukraine

Don't Give Up on a United Ukraine | Geography Education | Scoop.it

The current Ukrainian conflict is typically viewed in stark East-West terms: a pro-Russian East versus a pro-European West, with the threat of Ukraine splitting down the middle.


Ukraine’s divisions are indeed pronounced and the forging of a coherent national identity has remained very much a work in progress since independence.


Nonetheless, far from pointing to its unraveling, polling indicates that support for the Ukrainian state has been on the rise over the past decade – even in the Russian-speaking East and South. This is true despite the often polarizing and dysfunctional policies of successive Ukrainian leaders.

Seth Dixon's insight:

As the violence between police and protesters escalate (hundreds of riot police descended on the main square and the protestors set Independence Square ablaze), it is easy to see the country's irreconcilable differences.  The United States and the EU advocated for a peaceful resolution, but this crackdown comes on the heels of Russia buying $2 billion of Ukrainian government bonds and securing their financial future.  This other article is a reminder that while there are divisions, it's not inevitable that the centrifugal forces will pull the country apart.  


Tag: Ukraine, political, conflict, devolution.

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Amy Marques's curator insight, April 24, 2014 11:04 AM

This article shows the effects of imperialism and the effect it had on surrounding nations. When the USSR took over new lands and eventually became the Soviet Union, thousands of people were displaced from their homelands which is what happened in Ukraine. It makes sense why there is a population in Ukraine who is United and wants to remain Pro-Ukraine, but that means siding with west values. And there is a strong Pro-Russian population who wouldn't mind being apart of the east, the values and ideas placed by Russia.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 2, 2014 5:45 PM

Ukraine has been a country of interest for many supporters in the past decade. Even though its division amongst it is very Russian vs. European, there are definitely some ways to help their national identity work for the better.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 12:51 PM

Although there was tons of violence from government forces on the protesters, the will power of the protesters to get the freedom they want prevailed, just as they had done in the past with the "Orange Revolution." They did not give up on their country as they fought for what they thought was the right thing and a fight for a positive and bright future, one that did not include Russia. As of now in 2015 with a new President in office, Petro Poroshenko, things have cooled down significantly. With this new Ukrainian government an EU agreement was signed and one of the major players in the fight agains the protesters is now permanently disbanded, this group was called the Berkut.  

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Why Sochi?

Why Sochi? | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Why would Vladimir Putin want to host the Olympics in an underdeveloped place where terrorists lurk nearby? The answer is not as complicated as it may seem.
Seth Dixon's insight:

This article is an excellent explanation of the geopolitical significance of holding the Olympic Games in Sochi.  Geographer Carole McGranahan writes critically about the location of the Olympics given Putin's policies in the Caucasus Mountains (especially in regard to the 2008 invasion of Georgia to protect Russian interests in South Ossetia).  Additionally, here is a link from Stratfor discussing the shifting foreign policy concerns of the United States towards Russia.


Tags: sport, political, conflict, devolution, Russia.

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Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, February 18, 2014 2:52 PM

There are many reasons as to why the Olympics this year are held in Sochi, Russia i. Although it is an underdeveloped, terrorist driven area, it holds much potential and Vladimir Putin has reasons to why it is the perfect place.

Nathan Chasse's curator insight, March 1, 2014 12:59 AM

This article explains why Putin wanted the Winter Olympic games to be in Sochi. The Olympics have historically been used as a way for a nation to showcase progress or power, and the case is no different here. By hosting the games in Sochi, Putin was drawing attention to his successful crushing of the Chechen rebels and Russia's reinvestment into the area. Through the games, Putin is trying to make an international statement about the security and progress in this war-torn area. Still, there are a number of Chechen rebel cells and Circassian protesters in the area with a grudge against Russia.

Patty B's curator insight, April 29, 5:23 PM
This article seeks to answer why Putin deemed Sochi a viable spot to host the Olympic games. A war-torn, violent, dangerous, and desolate area, Sochi looked like one of the last places on Earth on would want to host the games. It seemed like the type of place other countries did not want to travel to. It was the type of place foreign fans did not feel safe walking around the streets of. But Putin saw the Olympics as a chance to reverse all of the negative aspects surrounding Sochi. In fact, the Olympic games have often served as a crutch for struggling nations to use to generate economic growth and to essentially turn things around a complete 180 degrees. Sochi, in Putin's eyes, was just that type of place. He believed Sochi needed the Olympics, and in a way, the Olympics and the world needed Sochi to be the host. In Putin's eyes, the games would have brought unity to the war-torn area. But, despite the Olympics helping countries of the past do so, Sochi remained as violent as before.