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Pro-Russian politicians and activists in Moldova's breakaway Trans-Dniester region have asked the Russian parliament to draft a law that would allow their territory to join Russia.
Transnistria (or the Trans-Dniester region) is one of my favorite examples to use in the classroom when discussing territories that function as a state, but is not internationally recognized. After the fall of the Soviet Union, ethnic Russians in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova, wanted to remain politically tied to Russia rather than part of an independent Moldova. Now that Crimea (also an area with many ethnic Russians that were politically separated from Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union) appears to be reuniting with Russia, many in Transnistria are hopeful that this could be a political opportunity for them to likewise rejoin with Russia. The Crimean situation has upset the status quo in the region.
Tags: political, sovereignty, territoriality, states, unit 4 political.
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What is amusing here is that the U.S. and its European allies will be quick to support nations that benefit them when those peoples wish to rise up "on their own," but when a nation that wants Russian support during their own "choice" it is "illegal" and against international law. What makes a country follow international law anyways? There are not many powers that could militarily force another nation to other than the U.S., the EU, Russia and China. Economically it is generally the same people who have the military might.
The Trans-Dniester region functions as a working state, but is not internationally recognized as such. Members of this region are hoping Russia will annex them for political and economic stability.
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.
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.
Unfortunately, these actions seem to be the one of a man who is trying desperately to hold on to his power. It is known that there was a power struggle between him and members of his government. It is the last thing this young country needs when it is trying to establish itself. Hopefully this move does not lead to the very thing South Sudanians were trying to get away from.
It is very difficult for a country this young to be politically and economically stable. The president must have a difficult time earning the peoples respect when the country is struggling. Removing the vice president only upset some locals as they felt he showed signs of a dictator.
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?
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.
I think the very last paragraph of this article is one of the truest statements about America that I have ever read. "There's so much good America can do in the world." This is absolutely true because as the author covered, the U.S. is very good at getting involved in foreign affairs and we are extremely lucky to have the borders that we do. We're safe on this side of the globe, a world away from the places that have suffered religious and political turmoil for centuries.
However, the citizens of the U.S. often remain marginally uneducated about out foreign affairs because of the portrayals by the media and the many covered up mistakes that the U.S. has made. The author of this piece noted America's three major faults as pragmatism, idealism, arrogance and ambivalence. The United States is ultimately the most conceited country in the world but it's not entirely the fault of its citizens. U.S. media's job is not necessarily to report the truth but report the fractions of truth that will continue to inspire nationalism, even if that means leaving out the fact that many problems around the world have been increased due to America's participation.
The author of this piece pointed out America's habit of only joining in when it is beneficial for our country, even if it is not in the best interest of the people we are helping. We offered assistance to the reformers in Egypt but ignored problems raging in Bahrain. The U.S. has only limited understanding of many of the old, traditional cultures that reign in parts of the Middle East but that does not stop the country from trying to help and often, looking foolish or inciting more unrest.
We have grown to feel very safe in on our side of the planet and regardless of the few attacks that have penetrated America's defense, we still have a very limited world view because there are no threats from our neighbors and it is okay to be whomever you'd like to be (technically speaking because racism, sexism, and homophobia are still rampant in this country) without threats from people around you. It would be in our country's best interest to educate ourselves on world events and other cultures to be well rounded and less offensive to those who suffer in other regions. The author called America's belief that the problems between Israeli's and Palestinians would resolve with a classic Hollywood happy ending a part of America's problem with idealism and not understanding what it is like to have neighbors who want to dive in during the midst of horrible wars and take whatever they can get their hands on. Having the borders that it does, it was never a real threat that the U.S. faced.
I think this article is spot on with the problems in U.S. foreign policy and how geography affects our culture and our ideas of how the world works.
"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.
If I was to create my own country, the first thing I'd do is make sure not to shoot down any U.N. helicopters. This video does show the very hard process of creating a country from scratch. I particularly enjoy the piece in which a government official attempts to explain taxes to folks at the marketplace because I probably had the same expression when taxes were first explained to me. "Why should I pay the government my hard earned money? They didn't do anything to earn it from me."
This is a really interesting dynamic to look into, as it's not everyday the process of founding a country can be seen at work. That's a true once in a lifetime experience for those involved, and is likely one of the harder jobs in the entirety of history.
This video and article highlight the steps a new country takes when it is carved out of an old one. The problems and tribulations the new country faces and how it responds to the rest of the international community will decide if it will be a long lasting country or just a blip on the road of the original countries history.
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.
This article is about large walls which were constructed fifty years ago to separate a part Belfast, Northern Ireland to protect citizens from conflicts between loyalists and separatists. Q wall separating people could temporarily protect people from violent conflict, but it would undoubtedly ensure continued conflict and intensify the feeling of "Us vs. Them." Though the people interviewed from both sides of the wall in the article like the wall since it gives them a feeling of security, the wall is likely damaging to a peace process in Northern Ireland.
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.
"Two days of street battles between rival factions in South Sudan's army left parts of the capital in ruins and prompted fears of a bloodbath in the world's youngest country.
UN officials in New York said they had received reports from local sources indicating that between 400 and 500 people had been killed and up to 800 wounded. More than 16,000 people were seeking refuge at UN facilities. What began on Sunday night as an alleged coup attempt now threatens to widen deep ethnic divisions in a country awash with weapons and still recovering from a devastating war that led to its secession from the north in 2011."
Earlier in the semester we discussed how difficult it is to establish a new country in a region with political and economic instabilty. This is only further complicated by the presence of factional rivalries. It's a tragedy that these problems are being played out.
Tags: South Sudan, political, Africa, states.
The newest nation in the world still faces hardships today in 2014. In 2013 the country was almost involved with a civil war between the government and rebel forces. One of the reasons for violence occurring was some people who were supportive of the vice president felt the president was acting like a dictator. However, in 2014 a cease-fire was signed between the government and rebel forces, but violence still occurs between those groups of people and over natural resources such as oil.
It is very difficult for the newest country in the world to be successful, as it is politically unstable.
"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.
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.
In the literall sense these colonial powers are no more. All theses countries have theire own form of indepenece and many have o officall ties to their mother countries. But what theses mother countries did to many of their colonies was cut them down at the knees where ther would need to continually rely on the mother for help or face damnation. These mother countries make alot of the commercial decsions for their previous colonial states and with that they hold the power to affect the whole nation.
This infographic was very interesting. By using color coding it highlights the areas of influence the colonel powers still maintain over their old possessions. This map is helpful in understanding how this affects the politics of theses regions today.
Colonial ties are still very prevalent due to Europe's dependence upon the resources of Africa. European countries like England and France invest billions in Africa, not to help those African nations, but to build infrastructure for resource extraction or to keep governments stable. Though the true exploitation of Africa has ended, the current situation certainly has the ring of exploitation as the people of Europe enjoy the diamonds and chocolate harvested by the multitudes of impoverished people of Africa.
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.
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.
South Sudan recently gained its independence from Sudan. South Sudan is now home to 10-12 million people and is the 193rd member of the United Nations. However, just because South Sudan became independent from Sudan does not mean it does not no longer carry some of the remaining issues.
This infographic gives an idea of why South Sudan seceded from the rest of the country. Decades of civil war preceded the secession, and it is clear the cultural differences between the two areas were a contributing factor. South Sudan is a part of the fertile Sahel, with the majority of its people Christian, while Sudan is mostly desert, with the majority of its people Muslims. South Sudan, as a new nation, faces a number of difficulties. Its new government needed to remain stable to focus on nation building, but war has broken out between the government and a rebel faction. South Sudan, should it become stable again, should work to improve the education of its people, as the infographic explains, since the vote to secede needed symbols rather than words due to only 15% of its people being literate.
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.
This is kinda like the video we watched where that guy who talks fast explained the uk. Oh and this is political
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.