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July 23, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, has issued a presidential decree removing the vice-president, Riek Machar Teny, and dissolved the whole government.
Just today I mentioned in class that South Sudan had some serious issues in establishing effective governance over their territory and building a legitimate government...then I read this. Starting a new country is difficult, especially with the hand South Sudan has been dealt--stay tuned.
Tags: South Sudan, political, Africa, states.
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Here is a living example of how hard it is to start a new country. Imagine what our founding fathers int he US was doing back in 1783 when they were trying something new, with not much to look to in the past as an example. Even with all the history since then, and all the examples of how to for a working governemt, startnig a new country in the area of the world that was once controlled by imperialists and warlords is not going to be an easy task by no stretch of the imagination. We can only hope for the best for these people.
Questions to ponder: How much do you agree with the author's assertion that geography explains the foreign affairs of the U.S.? Is there any environmental determinism in this argument?
This is a great article that explains how America's location affects American's worldview. As it states in the article, America's neighbors are Canada and Mexico, niether of which are hostile towards us, and fish. Therefore, the US had a lot of room to grow and have its system of compromise. This then translates to our foreign policy where we try to make compromises around the world but the world do not have the same benefit that we do. Even though we have been attacked, we are too far away to be affected in such a way that would tear the country apart. We are safe when compared to the rest of the world because of our location, and that security affects how we react with the rest of the world.
There are so many facets to geography and the United States has certainly benefitted from all of them; from location to abundant natural resources to cultural histories. I think this is a good introduction to the topic.
"As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee thought her country was 'the best on the planet.' It wasn't until the famine of the 90s that she began to to wonder. She escaped the country at 14, to begin a life in hiding, as a refugee in China. Hers is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope."
Not all migration is voluntary and this woman's personal struggle to flee North Korea alternates between heartwarming and heartbreaking. Her accent is thick, but it is worth it to her her story from her own mouth.
Tags: North Korea, migration, political, East Asia, development, states, poverty.
We've been studying North Korea and the conflict between North and South in our World Geography classes. This is an interesting perspective and story - one that definitely helps to understand the plight of many North Koreans as they struggle to leave and subsequently create new lives elsewhere.
A very powerful and informaitivie dipiction of life as you girl for Lee, and her stuggle to get a away. Her story is increadible, I cant even begin to imaigian all that she has been thouhg sence her escape. This story reminds me alot of life how life for jews was during and the hollocust, and how the need to escape your own country became a need to survive. The fact that Lee has remained safe and is able to come out and share her story is inspiring.
The filmmakers present a 12-step program to establish the world’s newest country: South Sudan.
What does a state need to have to be politically viable? If you were to start your own country, what would you need to do? This isn't just a hypothetical question since South Sudan is currently undergoing this process and having to answer these questions.
Tags: South Sudan, political, sovereignty, Africa, territoriality, states, unit 4 political.
I don’t think that Northern Sudan is going to relinquish control of South Sudan that easily. I am going to employ the wait and see attitude to this “Hot Spot” issue.
It is Italy's richest province, and has been part of the country for almost 100 years - but some in South Tyrol just do not feel fully Italian.
While the idea of everyone of the same nationality belonging to the same country might be considered an ideal situation, the world's ethnic geography is too jumbled to create perfect nation-states. South Tyrol is a part of Italy that is one of those places with mixed a ethnic, linguistic and political heritage. By different criteria, many of the residents could be considered German, Austrian or Italian or a combination of the them. Since the Euro Zone fiscal crisis, the push for political autonomy in South Tyrol has intensified, in part because this region has avoided the crisis and is economically fairing better than the rest of Italy.
Questions to Ponder: How do political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line? What elements are a part of a regions heritage? Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages? How does devolution impact the whole country?
Tags: Italy, states, autonomy, ethnic, language, devolution.
Questions to Ponder: How to political borders reveal and conceal "the truth" about places on either side of the line? What elements are a part of a regions heritage? Can regions have multiple, overlapping heritages? How does devolution impact the whole country?
Take note Kate and Johnny!!
"Why would they want to pull down these walls?” asks William Boyd mildly as he offers me a cup of tea in his home at Cluan Place, a predominantly Loyalist area of east Belfast.
These walls, orginally installed in the late 60s to protect Belfast residents during "the Troubles." Today, some argue that these walls are now barriers to the peace process as they continue defacto segregation. Walls, as barriers to diffusion, stifle communication, cooperation and interaction. Still, these walls are symbols of communal identity and icons in the cultural landscape. For more academic work on this, see Peter Shirlow's Belfast: Segregation, Violence and the City.
Questions to Consider: How would a wall through an already culturally and politically divided city impact both sides of the wall? Today, are the walls beneficial to peace in Northern Ireland?
Tags: Ireland, states, borders, political.
The walls in Belfast Ireland were put in the 60's to protect the residents and today many people argue they need to come down. My grandmother just returned from a trip to Ireland and Belfast was one of the areas they went. She said it was very sad, Christians had to walk on one side of the street and Protestans on the other in one area and the tour bus driver was being voice monitered by the police the whole time. There is so much seperation in Befast because of that wall and more people dont want it taken down then want it down for anything to be done.
The barrier in Belfast, Ireland is an impressive one. It has been there since the 1960s and having it there has become a security for the residence on both sides. Neither side wants it taken down, however, they have extremely different political/religious views. It seems strange to me that these people would prefer living in prison-like conditions just because that is the way it has been for so long. So long as the physical walls stay up, so will the cultural walls between these people.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Ricans faced a fundamental question on Election Day: Should they change their ties with the United States?
Lost in the election day enthusiasm throught much of the United Statees was coverage about Puerto Rico. A 'non-binding referendum' was on the ballot to reconsider the 114-relationship with the United States as a territory. 54% voted for a change, while 46% favored the status quo. The second question was asking how to change that relationship: 61% voted for statehood, 33% endorsed a sovereign free association, and 5% for independence. President Obama has gone on record stating that he'll support the will of a clear majority. We'll see what this means, but we are a lot closer to 51 states than we've ever been before. For more information, see Matt Rosenberg's assessment.
Tags: USA, political, states, autonomy.
Tags: Middle East, political, states, perspective, unit 4 political.
Today, a country’s marine economic area is defined by its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), a 200-nautical mile-wide (370 km) strip of sea along the country’s national coast line (hi-res image). This regulation, which was installed by the ‘UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’ in 1982, grants a state special rights to exploit natural (such as oil) and marine (for instance fish) resources, including scientific research and energy production (wind-parks, for example).
Questions to ponder: how does this series of buffer zones around the Earth's land masses impact politics, the environment and local economies? Where might the EEZs be more important to the success of a country/territory than other regions?
Tags: economic, environment, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, environment depend, territoriality, states, conflict, unit 4 political.
Across Africa, a continent where the average age is about 19, protests have flared against leaders who may have outstayed their welcome.
This interactive mapping feature compares two distinct data sets in an attempt to show that the two are correlated on the continent of Africa. The base layer of this thematic map is demographic, noting how much of the overall population in a given country is under the age of 16. The interactive feature with point data describes the political unrest or instability in that particular country.
Questions to ponder: Does the cartographer 'convince' you that Africa's having a very young (globally speaking) demographic cohort led towards greater political instability? Are there other factors worth considering? What does this map and it's embedded data tell us?
Tags: Africa, political, conflict, unit 4 political, states, governance, population, demographics, unit 2 population.
The the United States, 9/11 is memorialized in our landscapes and is etched in our collective consciousness. This coming Tuesday is the anniversary and Teaching History has put together a host of teaching materials about the importance and impact of the terrorist attacks of Septemper 11th, 2001 on the U.S. and the world.
Tags: Landscape, terrorism, conflict, states, political, place, historical, unit 4 political.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the knottiest border problem of all.
The historical events of 1948 and 1967 loom large in the formation of the borders in the region of Israel/Palestine. This is the most contentious border in the world with competing political/cultural factions with distinct territorial visions for the place. To complicate matters, other countries (most notably the United States and European countries siding with Israel and Arab states with other Muslim-majority countries supporting Palestine) are involved in the region, making this the most contentious border in the world. As Frank Jacobs said, “considering how deep those divisions are, it’s remarkable how relatively new the current set of borders is.” This is an intriguing analysis of an incredibly important set of borders that have larger geographic repercussions despite the short distances and relatively small populations involved.
This is the site for the United Nations at a Glance. Here you will find information and links on history, members, visitis, employement and other details.
While some critize the ineffectiveness of the organization, the United Nations remains a key organization to get understanding modern geopolitics. Through their UN voting patterns, we can assess the geopolitical motivations, interests and alliances of member states. Also, initiatives (whether successful or not) and highlight the important issues of the day that globally aware students should understand.
"Geographer Reece Jones discusses his recent book Border Walls, examining the history of how and why societies have chosen to literally wall themselves apart. He gives a brief history of political maps, how international lines reshape landscapes, and how the trend towards increased border wall construction contrasts with the view of a “borderless” world under globalization."
This 30-minute audio podcast is a great preview of Reece Jones' book Border Walls; and discusses many concepts important to political geography. The physical construction of barriers is an old practice (Great Wall of China, Hadrian's Wall), but those borders were the exceptions. The recent proliferatrion of walls to separate countries is dramatically reshaping our borders and impacting economics, politics, migration and other geographic patterns (How recent? Over half of the borders with walls and fences we see today have been constructed since 2000). Although walls are often justified as a means to prevent terrorism, most of the world's walls can best be explained as dividing wealthy and relatively poorer countries to prevent migration (download podcast episode here). You can also read his New York Times article on the same topic.
Tags: book reviews, podcast, borders, political, landscape, states, territoriality, sovereignty.
This broadcast states how advances in cartography over time maps borders of territory that became public in europe since the 180's, before that places to travel to were only by memory. After WWII orders were recognized and redrawn. Maps and borders organizes land around us as fixed territories to control. It allows territories control over their land and authority. Less than 5 borders or fences shortly after WWII existed and now there are at least 50 ,75% which are within the last 70 years. Physical walls being built slows human travel, borders wealthy from poor--US/Mexico has one of the largest gaps where US GDP is greater by 4 to 1 compared to Mexico (US$40,0000
Mexico $10,000 us dollars) India/Bangladesh border also illustrates this. They share the same Bengali languge, with 15 million Bangladeshis living and working in India. This border is 4000 km long with 200,000 border agents employed. The border fence is about 10 ft high doubled barbed with many gates and flood lights (no camerastation in space because of the flood lights). Bangladesh cross into India to visit relatives living there, and work. Bangladesh has poor standards of living and India has increased standards of living. Bangladesh has over 160 million people , 1238 people per sq km (dense population) in the comparable size of US state of Iowa, is a low lying area with floods, (Ganges River empties into Bay of Bengal) and as sea levels rise one meter flooding occurs.
The future of borders between $$wealthy and poor and world trade capital movement ,investments of US in other countries and trade of other countries into the US, and the poor becomes a threat to the territories (states, countries) sine they cannot move around in the world. Morre walls and fence borders are to com. In the last 15 years walls and fences has increased between countries to protect resources and control their area and even used strategically to their own advantage for resource control, political control and military advantages while affecting the environment, economics and peoples way of life.
This is a must read book which has won Geography awards and very insightful.
Africa may have achieved independence, but the old colonial ties are still important as France’s decision to send troops to Mali to fight Islamist extremists shows.
This is a very intriguing infographic (download high-resolution image here). How are old colonial patterns a thing of the past? How do old colonial patterns continue to affect the African continent?
Tags: Africa, states, language, infographic, historical, colonialism.
This infographic is a great introduction to the historical genesis of South Sudan and the political uncertainty and difficulties that it now faces as an independent country.
This pictorial diagram describes both physical and human characteristics of South Sudan. South Sudan is the world's newest country.
It is a rare opportunity that the world gets to witness the birth of a new nation. But with the birth of South Sudan, it seems the world was ready to welcome them in. After Sudan became free from Egypt and the United Kingdom in 1956, 39 of thier 55 years of freedom have been in war between the northern part and southern part of the country. It made sense to divide the two. They had different religion focuses, different terrain, and different ways of life. The split was based on a nation wide vote, which well over three million votes were cast. There was really no dispute about a border, one was already mad eby the land. The Sudan was a desert region and as you traveled South it turned into swamp and forests (apparently you can see the border clearly form an aerial view). The border was put in place and now the South Sudan is the 193 nation to join the United Nations. While the Sudan is much larger than the South Sudan, it seems this plan to seperate has worked for the better. Becoming a nation in July 2011, it recieved assistance from the U.N. in its period of transition. Overall, I think the South Sudan and the Sudan seperating was for the best. Now the countires are free to practice their own religions and lifestyles. All that is left to say is #Welcome193
South Sudan secceded from Sudan in 2011. North Sudan is Muslim, while South Sudan is Christian. This difference alone causes one t think of what impacts and consequences this new border will cause.
While city lights at night serve as a good proxy for population density, North Korea provides a dark exception.
This image is appears to be a regional inset of the classic Earth at Night composite image however this nighttime remote sensing image was taken from Sept. 2012. The Earth at Night image is typically used in classrooms to discuss what this actually means for human geography (Population density? Development? Consumption? Where? How come?). However, this particular portion of the global image focused on the Korean Peninsula highlights two other specific issues:
Tags: economic, political, resources, water, sovereignty, coastal, territoriality, states, unit 4 political, remote sensing.
Amazing photo! Population density is a good issue but also political geography and economic geography as well.
This cliché image of "North Korea in the dark" reinforces preconceived ideas about the "totalitarian" state and how terrible life must be without electricity. Well, one aspect of this political geography is the effect of US-backed sanctions against North Korea and the severe ecological and energy crisis under which it has struggled for the last two decades. Just as electricity is not simply a "natural" resource, neither is energe consumption nor shortage.
The United Nations General Assembly approved an upgraded U.N. status for the Palestinian Authority, despite U.S. and Israeli opposition.
While this may be primarily symbolic, it is still a highly significant move on the part of the United Nations. 65 years ago, the United Nations called for a two-state system. This map of the vote that I found on Facebook (can't find another source as of yet) is quite intriguing.
Questions to Ponder: Why might a country choose to abstain? Can you think of a specific reason why a particular country abstained? With this new geopolitical fact, how will Israel and Palestine move forward?
One year ago, the U.N. status regarding Palestine was upgraded from "non-member observer entity" to "non-member observer state". While Palestinians believe that this is a major push for peace and for Palestinian independence, other countries believe that the change will not do anything for Palestine.
Go undercover with National Geographic correspondent Lisa Ling as she journeys into mysterious and reclusive North Korea.
We know so little about life in North Korea since they have the world’s least free press (that is not hyperbole--Freedom House ranks countries from 0 to 99 with 0 being the most free and 99 being the least free. North Korea has recently "improved" its rating to 97, the worst in the world). Official coverage is highly censored and filled with government propaganda. This 2009 glimpse is incredibly poignant.
Tags: East Asia, development, states, poverty.
What is more likely to happen first: Greece will leave the eurozone, or Scotland will leave the UK?
Although there is currently only about 30% of Scotland that would support independence, this is something that will be gaining importance. The United Kingdom is a complex political entity, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland connected with England. The "divorce referendum" will be help on October 2014 to see if Scotland wishes to dissolve this union and many of the political and economic events throughout Europe will be seen through this prism, especially the Euro Zone crisis in southern European countries (e.g.-Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal). The possibility that this might happen are small, but as the article stated, "not zero."
Tags: devolution, supranationalism, political, states, sovereignty, autonomy, Europe, unit 4 political.
Good for Scotland... as anyone that has watched Braveheart knows, all they need is Mel Gibson to fight for their independence, and they will surely win! I know some people that play the bagpies, and I like the Scottish music better than much English music. I don't know much about the UK, so I have little to guide me in favor or against Scotland declaring independence, but aw heck, why not... The US declared independence, and it seemed to work out for them until... whenever...? forever? it depends on what you use as criteria to look at it... But live and let live, let people do what they want, the only advice to that is not to let people harm others. That way, true peace can be achieved. Harmony, instead of harm. So I would advocate for Scotland to wear women's clothing with turtle shells in their crotches and dance to celebrate their independence if that's what they want, as long as there are no epic battle sequences that precede or follow their dancing. Don't be an elitist, open your eyes, the governments own your brothers and their lives... We must work to change this.
The shape of a state can greatly impact the political cohesion of a country as well as it's economic viability. While this is obviously a fictitious map, it draws our attention to the logistic difficulties that confront Palestine with the Israelis controlling crucial transportation access points and corridors.
Questions to Ponder: How is this a 'persuasive map?' What are some of the geographic impacts of this fragmentation on Palestine? For Israel?
Tags: cartography, MiddleEast, political, states, territoriality, unit 4 political.
The violent protests at U.S. embassies this week seemed to catch the new Middle East governments flat-footed. So are these attacks an aberration on the rocky road of nation building, or a harbinger of a region moving toward greater chaos?
This nicely puts the political instability of North Africa in context to understand the recent attack on U.S. embassies.
Tags: MiddleEast, political, states.
This is the short version of the differences between these interrelated places and terms; the long version is much more complicated than this.
Tags: Europe, political, unit 4 political, states, toponyms.
I found these cartograms from an article in the Telegraph and was immediately impressed. The cartograms originated here and use data from the Global Rural-Urban Mapping Project as to create the int...
This series of cartograms shows some imbalanced populations (such as the pictured Australia) by highlighting countries that have established forward capitals. Question to ponder: Do forward capitals change the demographic regions of a country significantly enough to justify moving the capital?
Interseting way to visualy map population density.
Discover the number of countries participating in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Find out which countries are not participating in the Olympic Games and learn which non-countries are participating as well.
204 countries are participating in the Olympics? There aren't even 204 countries in the world! This article looks at the political geography of international recognition. One interesting case not discussed in the article is that of Taiwan. Taiwan is participating, but marched under a non-Taiwanese flag under the name Chinese Taipei because the IOC wanted the mainland Chinese to return to the games. Also, South Sudan, Kosovo and the Vatican are not participating (although pondering them competing, especially the Vatican, is something that deeply amuses me). Another intriguing thought: how many of the participants were former British colonies? There are more classroom resources based on the Olympics from the GA.