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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.
World defense spending is expected to go up for the first time in five years, thanks to China and Russia.
The top 3 shouldn't come as any big surprises, but there might be a few farther on down the list though that might raise some eyebrows. There are specific geopolitical, historic, economic and cultural rationales for each of these countries that explain why they are on this list, and discussing those reasons is a conversation would having.
Brazil being in the top 15 of countries with the largest defense budget is not all that surprising considering the political, social, and economic situations of South America. Within Brazil’s sphere of influence, especially areas west of its developed cities, the Amazon jungle still is used by those deemed enemies of the state, whether actual or politically based. Because of that, there comes the difficult task of tracking and deterring rebel activity, arms or drug smuggling, etc. The borders that Brazil share with Bolivia, Colombia, and Venezuela; border security is likely to be a concern due to the history of drug manufacture and shipping from those nations, along with the violence and corruption that comes with that activity. Not to mention the historical and violent political instability these countries have faced, which are still a concern for the region and world. Venezuela, being an “enemy of the U.S.” and Brazil being an ally, this border area is probably highly militarized or monitored. With this in mind, a slight musing could be given towards how much of the military aid and counter narcotics aid from the United States goes into Brazil’s military funding.
Brazil is also the one of the most stable and economically strong countries on the continent and in order to continue that, the government must be able to keep instability coming over from the border in check as well as deal with rebel forces using the Amazon as a safe haven. What is surprising to me however is that with how far away the rest of the countries in South America are from Brazil in military expenditures causes me to pause and think about just what they may be worrying about from their neighbors? Perhaps as they attempt to get a seat at the big table in international affairs, they feel having a stronger military will improve their image. They may not be worried about regional infighting due to the difficult terrain of the area which would make any military campaign extremely difficult and costly, besides a host of other reasons. In conclusion, Brazil is more than likely looking towards international interests in addition to showcasing their swelling national pride by spending $175 U.S. dollars per person on military expenditures while many continue to go hungry living in the famous favelas of Cidade de Deus.
Con 25,2 miliardi di dollari L'Italia si piazza 14esima, prima dell'Iran
Oltre alla spesa complessiva, per i primi 10 paesi è riportato anche l'ammontare di spese militari pro capite.
Stati Uniti 2.000 $
Cina 83 $
Russia 475 $
Arabia Saudita 2.100 $
Regno Unito 900 $
Francia 797 $
Giappone, meno di 400 $
Germania 450 $
India 29 $
Brasile 175 $
E l'Italia? Basta dividere. Sono 413 $ a persona. Ogni anno, la mia famiglia dà ben 2.065 $ alla difesa.
Russia is the third highest goverment military that spends around 143 million people lived in Russia in 2012 and they spent around $475 per person on it's military. Russia compared to China and the US is another story the US is number one in who spent the most on their military forces at $600.4 billion. As far as China is concerened it comes in at number two at spending around $112.2 billion. These numbers make sense especially for the power house that China is and how their values of militarism affect their spending and their way of society/life.
What makes a country a country? There isn't just one definition that is universally excepted as to what a country is; that make the first question even harder to answer. Exploring these terms though is incredibly geographic and highlights some of the lesser known but fascinating places that are mired in geopolitical quanderies.
If you haven't discovered CGP Grey yet, his YouTube channel is a veritable fountain of geographic tidbits. His distinctive style helps to contextualizes some of the more odd and complicated parts of the Earth (but some find the rush of facts disorienting).
Tags: borders, political, territoriality, sovereignty, CGP Grey.
This is one of those frequently asked questions in Geography class that sometimes results in increased confusion. The maker of this video has summed it up nicely.
What makes a country a country is if they play by the rules, of other soverin nations on a global scale and follow the rules. Most countries recieve taxes from their citizens, have a military and a recognized as a soverin. Not every body of land is a country but are also properties controlled by other countries. There are countries in the South Pacific. In North, South America, Europe, and Asia, and bevcause of politcal geopgrahpy nations sizes are changing often and new countries are usually created from theis process
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner renews her claims for sovereignty of the Falklands at a UN Security Council meeting.
Are they the Falklands or Las Malvinas? It's not just a simple linguistic translation but also a statement of territoriality and geopolitical recognition. This article nicely summarizes the current situation. For a great teaching resource on the historical ebbs and flows in this longstanding dispute between Argentina and the UK, see the second slideshow in this series of AP Human Geography talks that was given at NCGE earlier this month.
Tags: Argentina, borders, political, territoriality, sovereignty.
Im old enough to remember this conflict when Thatcher sent the British to retake the islands. Both sides are claiming the islands for themselves. Seems they were uninhabited when discovered by the French and then it was British, Spanish, French, Argentinan, and British again in 1833 until the militray invasion by Agrentina in 1982 and the retaking of the island by the British that same year. Claims on both sides seem legitimate, but I find it most telling that the people now living there want to be part of Great Britian, not Argentina. The people of mainland Argentina might want the islands, economic reasons and for the EEZ, but the people actully living on the island do not. Another thing I do remember, the US was not with Great Britian at thie time in an unusual split between long term and stanuch allies
I think that countries trying to unite and make claims is sort of like going to a bad college party in a station wagon with people that you might not like, don't like you, and are not like you... At least in the case of the USA. As for Argentina, well I hope they're not as ravishly divided as the united of the constituents of America. I don't really have anything good to say about this country... I have been physically and psychologically abused by police, damaged and violated by medical establishments, and I'm really sick of other people acting like they have the god-given right or my permission to treat me less than pleasantly. How does this relate to Argentina requesting sovereignty? Well, I relate my personal experience to their situation in that they might be better off sovereign than being operated on by deranged fugitive doctors or beaten up by cops in bad relationships... so to speak. For a lack of sovereignity would pose negative things that might befall their people. I think that there is a greater chance for greater things to happen to them if they do it alone, rather than being told what to do, or being thought through and puppetted by other countries!
"Most of us think of international borders as invisible, but clear-cut lines: stand on one side, and you’re in one country; stand on the other, you’re in another country. But here’s a list of five international borders that, for one reason or another, are not quite that simple."
This article is in dire needs of some maps, but it still provides 5 intriguing case studies of borders and chunks of territory that defy normal categorization.
Tags: borders, political, territoriality, sovereignty.
It is Puzzling, but every human being chose to live in a normal, happy and free country, in a Democratie, if possible.
These borders and boundaries indicate something that I thought of while rewatching Independence Day (the Smith/Goldblum flick from '96)... If we make a mess, and destroy this planet, aliens wouldn't want it. The land that no one wants, is probably wanted by someone in reality... I am a fervent believer in aliens, and spend my free time diving into attempts to solve my quandary about the higher questions of the universe. I think that the area that no one wants, everyone wants. Unlike state boundaries in the US, planets are divided as separate entities from other planets, but grouped in solar systems, galaxies, asteroid belts, etc... I can't wait for the day some pompous fool gets on the bridge of a starship from Earth and sits in the captain's chair and says "Lieutenant, take us to Sector ----- (so and so)"... We will have moved up from the United States and Canada to the United Sectors of Galaxies! And that little bit of land that 'no one wants,' everyone actually wants... same with planets. Terraforming will allow those unsightly balls of fury that float around a star to become the most inhabitable of them all! I wonder where these things will stop... or if it keeps going to larger sectors, endlessly? Well, we will likely encounter other species with territorial claims... play nice, America! Or the Aliens will pop out of your stomach. Though there are some politicians now that seem to have popped out of someone's stomach, I think the threat is more domestic while territory disputes occur nowadays, as it is humans arguing with humans, but it will increase when the Martians come to claim what is theirs.
"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.
In the search for Middle East peace, the most fundamental problem is the problem of disbelief.
Wouldn't you like to read the bullet points that accompany this graphic? This article written by a peace negotiator is a good "bi-partisan" approach to understanding what would be needed to actually achieve peace in the Middle East. The first step, is for both sides to believe that it can actually be achieved. Filling in a blank diagram such as this would be a great way to get students seeing the same dispute from multiple perspectives.
Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political.
This article explains the conflicts that are such a problem within the country of Israel, the conflict of religion and space. The Palestinians believe that they belong in the area, where the land was given to the Jewish people. These people are at war each day because they are fighting to hold on to a certain piece of land to claim for their own religion, yet they still incorrectly get blended together as one large group of people who are all the same due to the area they live.
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.
A new interactive tool allows you to decide how many Israeli settlers to annex and what constitutes a viable Palestinian state.
This article from the Atlantic is a great introduction to a mapping tool that puts the user at the virtual negotiation table. Peace talk proposals often center around the amount of land that Palestinians want and the Jewish settlements in the West Bank that the Israelis want as a part of the state of Israel. This interactive, titled Is Peace Possible?, allows the user to propose potential land swaps, see the demographic breakdown of West Bank settlements and videos to introduce users to on 4 major issues: borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem.
Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political, mapping.
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.
Tags: MiddleEast, territoriality, transportation, borders, conflict, governance, political, unit 4 political.
A relatively grim reminder that even things as clear-cut as road systems can be inherently political. This system forces segregation by the law of which roads can be driven on, but it's a good jumping point to remember that even the placement of roads can exclude or include communities. I'm reminded of the proposed idea for a NAFTA superhighway running through Mexico, Canada, and the US. One of the criticisms was that the highway would not provide exits for anywhere but major economics centers, effectively cutting off small towns from the rest of the area.
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.
London and the City of London are the same political and territorial entity right? Of course not. Why have something simple when we can have a rich archaic legacy with a fascinating (albeit convoluted) history. Here’s a great political geography lesson just in time for the Olympic Ceremonies.
If you haven't discovered CGP Grey yet, his YouTube channel is a veritable fountain of geographic tidbits. His distinctive style helps to contextualizes some of the more odd and complicated parts of the Earth (but some find the rush of facts disorienting). If you want another example, watch Bizarre Borders, part 2 which focuses on the complexities of the US/Canadian border.
............ Fada (s) ..................
A video that shows all of the countries that are either within another country or who are singular/double bordered. Cool.
We chart the routes of, and reasons for, the barriers which are once again dividing populations
This is an in-depth, multi-media interactive that explores the political, economic and cultural implications of borders that are heavily fortified or militarized (I found this too late to be included in the "best posts of 2013" list, but this will be the first to include for 2014). Not all of these borders are political; in Brazil it explores the walls that separate different socioeconomic groups and in Northern Ireland they look at walls dividing religious groups. The interactive examines various borders including U.S./Mexico, Morocco, Syria, India/Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Greece/Turkey, Northern Ireland, North/South Korea and Spain. The overarching questions are these: why are we building new walls to divide us? What are the impacts of these barriers?
Tags: borders, political, territoriality, unit 4 political.
This is exactly why I am interested in collaborative online international learning as well as adaptive learning.
What are the opportunities to integrate bridge building learning activities in an cirriculum, via online learning? Any subject any time. Even better, how to empower students to create self-directed study accross 'walls'? Gaming?
What types of stories will 'retell' this scenario? Reframe perspectives? What mediums can they be told through to reach the appropriate audiences?
Unfortunately, for our security, we must live in a Walled World
It appears India is constructing a 2,500-mile long fence around its neighboring country Bangladesh. The barbed wire fence may have been built due to that fact India has one of the largest populations in the world and they do not want the struggling people of Bangladesh to enter their country. Also, areas around the fence are becoming dangerous, with more than 1,000 people killed by border patrol and criminals. There are not many jobs in Bangladesh and the people are having trouble finding clean drinkable water. Lastly, the people may be fleeing into India hoping to find work and an improved lifestyle.
In a busy city like New York, there are never enough places for parking and lanes for traffic. There is simply not enough space for the flow to be smooth and efficient. Cyclists that attempt to assert their right to the street are often times referred to as cyclist activists or hipsters as though their activism or cultural differences makes them synonymous with an extremism that is more easy to dismiss. Many hold views that privilege a motorists right to space in the city above that of a cyclist. I saw this tweet by a NYC cycling organization that referred to "activist drivers" who park in the bike lane as attempting to create a "guerrilla can lane." They used the terms and language used against them and superimposed it on the larger motorist community which sees itself as having a more natural right to all space in the city. This video embedded above is an excellent spoof and highlights the dangers of being a cyclist in a motorist-centric world.
Tags: transportation, cycling, urban, planning, territoriality, space.
BIKERS. be aware of dangers on the street path
I find this to be very true. I have gone to big cities such as Boston and New York and it is always chaotic. I find that there is always terrible parking in the big cities. Also it seems very dangerous for the average civilian trying to get to his or her job on a daily basis. Me not being from around the area found it difficult to navigate.
Bikers in New York City should know better not to ride their bikes around the streets because it is so busy and the traffic can be difficult. I know people use bikes to commute to work or school but this is New Yorks job to create more bike paths for people who want to use their bikes to commute. This will be safer for people to ride their bikes whenever they want.
"Prime Minister David Cameron is 'seriously concerned' about the escalation of tensions on the border between Spain and the British territory of Gibraltar."
This video and article briefly show the reasons behind the current tension between Spain, NATO allies and fellow EU members. The deeper, underlying issues though are all fundamentally rooted in the complex local political geography. As an exclave of the UK on a peninsula connected to the Spanish mainland that controls access to the Mediterranean Sea, there is naturally going to be friction over this unusual political configuration. Spain, in what the chief Minister of Gibraltar calls "sabre-rattling," is flexing its muscles and considering using their border and airspace as a political leverage. Spain is upset that Gibraltar has created an artificial reef in waters that their fishermen use. Spanish fisherman have recently condemned the escalating political rhetoic.
Questions to Ponder: Why are both parties politically and culturally invested in this piece of territory? What challenges are there for a small exclave when neighbors aren't friendly? How does Spanish and British suprantional connections impact this issue?
Tags: borders, political, territoriality, sovereignty, Spain, Europe, autonomy.
Relationships between Britain and Spain.
"The video explains about Spain and Gibraltar and how they have feuded back and forth with one another and their borders for some time now. Gibraltar has made a articfical reef to mess with the Spainish fisherman and SPain has made travel to Gibraltar nearly impossible and dreadfully long for tourists. Spain understands how essential tourism is to their economy. Until they are able to come to an agreement thei matter is only going to intenisfy more and worsen."
I was unaware that the UK owned this part of Gibraltar. It seems like a throwback to the UK’s naval policies of the past that they would still to control this point of entry into the Mediterranean. It will be interesting to see how this will be resolved. As it is a dispute between two countries that are both part of the EU.
"In a new series of four eight-minute videos, National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah is a cultural educator working to build relationships between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem and throughout Israel. In this series of four eight-minute videos, Abu Sarah meets with people from both sides of the conflict in order to better understand and communicate how this international dispute impacts their everyday lives."
Tags: Israel, borders, Palestine, territoriality, political, Middle East.
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.
A website that examines the geographical enclaves of the world
This website is an exhaustive list with information on the world's enclaves that are so often entangled in geopolitical issues.
Tags: borders, political, unit 4 political.
Enclaves of the world HUGGERS....review!
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 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.
Competing territorial claims have led to maritime disputes off the coast of Asia. See a map of the islands at issue.
This is an nice interactive map that allows the reader to explore current geopolitical conflicts that are about controlling islands. This is an good source to use when introducing Exclusive Economic Zones, which is often the key strategic importance of small, lightly populated islands.
Tags: EastAsia, SouthEastAsia, political, unit 4 political, territoriality, autonomy, conflict, economic.
This map shows a number of disputed islands off the coast of East Asia. These ownership of these islands would allow countries to extend their territory further into the ocean and grant them rights to any resources which may be under the ocean waters nearby. This political issue is one which driven by economics. Though the claims on these islands are not currently worth fighting over, if significant resources are found they could be, and a more powerful nation like China could flex military muscle to solidify their claim and other claimants would have to back down.
link to part 2 http://youtu.be/I5t9wpEzKRc or http://youtu.be/myNxTaW5z3w link to part 3 http://youtu.be/7mJK4Sgxrbw...
This video clip shows the historical background of the political and economic factors that have lead to competing claims in the South China Sea. The Exclusive conomic Zone (EEZ) with projected oil fields is the main prize and China has been flexing it's regional muscles.
Questions are growing about the fate of President Bashar Assad's regime. One possibility is the creation of a breakaway region in the northwest coastal mountains dominated by the president's Alawite minority.
This podcast explores the geopolitical possibilities that are facing the minority Alawites of Syria. If the major cities of Syria fall to the rebels, would a smaller Alawite breakaway state even be economically or politically viable? This podcast argues that it would not, and therefore many Alawites see this as a zero sum game. While this is all speculative, it uses spatial and geographic prinicples to assess the viability of possible outcomes.