Saturday, July 9, 2011

The New World Map

With a new country, South Sudan, we have a new map thanks to the Guardian and to Roland Paris for tweeting the link.  I always enjoy looking at maps and trying to figure out when they were made, given the changes in the world. 

What are most notable are some of the lists at the bottom:
  • First, no big pattern of new countries.  Recognitions of one or two have not lead to a cascade.  The big wave of the end of the Soviet Union/breakup of Yugoslavia/velvet divorce led to what?  A dribble of Eritrea and Palau in the early 90's and then East Timor did not lead to many new secessions.  Montenegro and Kosovo finally gained independence after the de facto breakup of the rest of Yugoslavia more than a decade earlier.  South Sudan is not going to cause a cascade of new secessionist movements either.  What would a potential secessionist learn from SS's experience: fight for more than forty years, endure a few broken treaties, and happiness will come your way?   I don't think so.  I will stand by my anti-contagion argument, even if it does not hold up so well for democratization/authoritarian demise.
  • Second, Bahrain is among most densely populated countries?  That might help to explain its particular path the past six months or so.
  • Third, Afghanistan is not among the ten poorest countries, in terms of gross national income per capita.  I don't know if it is the poppies or the international assistance or both.  Almost shocking that a country with so much resource wealth, Congo, would end up 2nd, but that is what a few civil wars and heaps of corruption can do.  Depressing.  Diamond are not oil as Sierra Leone has learned.  
  • Fourth, that Vietnam is eighth on the list of refugee senders is a bit surprising.  Aren't there other countries that are worse off, producing more refugees (other than the first seven)?  I guess less people returned to Afghanistan than I had thought.  
  • Fifth, Germany has received almost 600,000 refugees?  This is the most of any non-neighbor (Pakistan, Iran, Syria lead), the most of any developed country, more than twice that of the US despite having less than a third of the population.  Germany gets heaps of abuse for all kinds of reasons (caveats in Afghanistan, opposing the Libya mission, selling tanks to the Saudis just as they are repressing protestors in their neighbors, see forthcoming blog post), but taking such a large dose of refugees is pretty impressive.  Of course, as social scientists have long known, refugees tend to end up mostly in places that are less well off: Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, Kenya, and CHAD!  China, US, and UK round out the list.  No, not Canada, but probably close to the top ten.
Oh, and BBC re-posted their interactive Sudan maps (I discussed this set of maps in January).  Yes, once again, Sudan really screwed the folks in the south. 

    1 comment:

    Chris C. said...

    Bahrain's entire north is basically rings of poor Shi'a communities surrounding wealthy Sunni/expat enclaves and cut in half by superhighway projects and oil pipelines running in every direction.

    While Kuwait and Qatar have managed to stay away from that kind of living situation, there are areas of eastern Saudi and the northern UAE that are very similar in composition. Would place bets on those areas being the ones to go if mass movements developed in those states.