Thursday, September 11, 2008

You Say You Want a Revolution?

So you want to start your own nation, eh? I'm glad you came to me. I might not have the vast amount of experience that comes from living, like, really, really close to Canada and kinda-sorta close to Russia. I am, however, a pretend internet historian with a real degree in history, which I think trumps being a real whack job with a real degree in fake history. Anyway, let's say that you want to start a nation. You need four things. 1. Territory. Without it you're just some dude on a chair. 2. The ability to defend your territory. Or, alternately, territory that no one else wants. 3. Someone else to agree that you are, indeed, a nation. 4. Some really bitchin' flame decals for your flag. Or, possibly: 4. Some form of government. I forget which. Does it really matter, though? Who doesn't love bitchin' flame decals? Now, then, pretend that your territory is part of another territory, which is highly likely, unless you happen to be in charge of Sealand. That means you'll have to make your nation out of parts of another nation. Let's make an example. You live in Greater Krapistan (the -stan suffix denotes that you're in the Land of the Krapi people). However, you don't like Greater Krapistan too much and think you'd be much better off if you pulled your little province of Outer Krapistania out of Greater Krapistan. Here's where things get interesting. You're technically allowed to do that, if you can get away with it. So, if Greater Krapistan fights to keep you in and you beat them on your own, you get to start your own country. This happens a lot, mostly in Africa. Now most of the time the would-be rebels have fewer resources than the people they're trying to break away from. Should you find yourself in that situation, you'll need to make friends. You might want to go make friends with Padukiolia, the big, powerful country next door that doesn't really like Greater Krapistan. They might be willing to intervene on your behalf. But watch out, as the Padukiloias of the world rarely intervene in such matters out of the pure goodness of their hearts and their simple respect for the rightness of your cause. Either way, if you think that you can take Greater Krapistan or convince Padukiolia to intervene on your behalf, you've got yourself your own nation, assuming that the rest of the world agrees. Congratulations! ---------------------- We have two excellent examples of the principles of nation-creating right here in the annals of the history of the United States of America. First, the American Revolution. In 1776 the Declaration of Independence laid down the principles of the nation. However, the fledgling nation wasn't strong enough to stand up against England on its own. Luckily, France didn't so much like England, so they intervened on America's behalf. On the thing about being careful of the reasons for assistance, however, during the French Revolution certain parties became convinced that the United States owed their new brothers in democracy a solid. Then came the XYZ Affair and all kinds of other stuff and the two nations nearly went to war over the principle of the whole thing. Instead, the US and England went to war again in the War of 1812, also known as "one of the dumbest wars ever." Second, the Civil War. In 1861 the Confederate States of America withdrew from the Union. For about a year and a half they seemed to have the upper hand, due to the general slowness of the Union leadership. The Confederacy lobbied hard for international recognition and assistance from Europe. England was willing to build blockade runners for the Confederates and trade for southern cotton in spite of the Union blockade because they needed the cotton for their textile mills. However, they weren't willing to go far enough as to actually extend recognition. They came close in the fall of 1862, but the Battle of Antietam and Emancipation Proclamation pretty much nipped the idea in the bud. No one intervened on the CSA's behalf, the war stayed an internal matter, and the rest is history. ---------------------- So what's my point? No one else seems to be raising a stink about the whole Russia/Georgia thing like the U.S. is. The reason for this lack of stink is simple. It's not because NATO is a bunch of dishonorable wimps or anything, it's because this is a messy, messy situation. If the U.S. goes to war with Russia over this, it's not as the avenging saviors. It's as the country on the other side of the world meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. The absolute last thing we want to do is start World War III over what appears to be a foregone conclusion. Georgia isn't being unjustly attacked by Russia. South Ossetia simply got the biggest country in the area to come in on their side. It happens. Calling this anything else is stupid, dangerous, and short sighted. Oh, and pulling some “Evil Empire” crap out of your hat and pretending the Cold War never ended isn’t such a good thing, either. It’s a brave new world, folks, one in which we might have to re-think the whole idiotic belligerence thing...

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