Wednesday, January 16, 2008

World Health Organization offends the Azeris

The World Health Organization has done an Economist by making a cartographic affront to the Azeris. The WHO's website had maps which displayed the disputed breakaway republic of Nagorno Karabakh as part of Armenia. The NK is a de facto republic unrecognized, but protected, by its ethnic brothers from Armenia.

Unrecognized countries are a cause of great tension. Expect these to become a greater issue with the upcoming independence (and only partial recognition) of Kosovo and possibly therefore Transnistria and the Georgian breakaway republics.


cokaygne said...

Keep your eye on Europe. The broadening and deepening of the EU is eroding Europe's official states. Scottish nationalists are asking, "Who needs Westminster when all the important decisions are now made by the EU?" Belgium's Flemish parties are asking, "Who needs Brussels the capital of Belgium when all the important decisions are made by the EU government housed in Brussels?"

Ireland severed its last ties with the UK in 1948. From the beginning of its struggle for independence until Ireland and the UK separately joined the EU's predecessor in 1973 Ireland was a very poor backwater exporting its population to the UK, the Commonwealth (of which it was not a member), and the US.

Upon becoming a part of the EU Ireland started to prosper because of access to wider markets and as an English-speaking base for American investment in the EU. Irish governments were free to engage in nationalist projects such as resurrecting Gaelic (they call it "Irish") as the national language.

The independent part of Ireland left behind a remnant in Northern Ireland engaged in guerilla warfare against a population supported by the UK. Once the two sides had exhausted themselves and realized that Brussels, the EU capital not the Belgian capital, meant more to them then either London or Dublin in a practical sense; and both the Irish and British governments backed away from the guerilla war in a small part of their territory, things changed.

Eventually Europe may have even more "countries" with their own flags and national languages. They will be like millets of the old Ottoman empire governing themselves but paying tribute to the Eurocracy in Brussels.

Michael said...

On Europe: IF they play their cards right, the larger governments within the EU could continue to exist as regional forums and coordination agencies for the smaller governments within-- Spain for the Iberian peninsula, the Westminster parliament for Great Britain, etc.

On the Azeris: The Wikipedia entry on Azerbaijan mentions genetic studies done of the Azeris. Apparently, the Azeris of Azerbaijan are closer to the Armenians genetically than to either the Turks or to the Azeris of Iran (who are genetically Iranian). Suggests an alliance or merger between Armenia and Azerbaijan might be the best option if they can overcome hard feelings.