Thursday, August 18, 2011

Random Recognition

Somaliland counts!

Ok, perhaps not so great, but this map by the World Food Programme essentially recognizes the existence of Somaliland.  As the map shows, Somaliland is better off than Somalia--yet again. 

Somaliland is a proud member of a club of countries not allowed in the club of countries.  Byman and King had a nice piece in the NYT this week documenting the problems raised by "phantom" states. They recommend:
transparent government, free elections and a peaceful foreign policy are as vital for phantom states as they are for real ones. If phantom governments behave well, they should be offered a path toward legitimacy by the world’s major powers. Economic and political reforms can proceed parallel to, and even bolster, discussions over sovereignty.
Good luck with that. Their orphan status is a product of political conflict, not just aversion to changing international boundaries (O-ver-RAY-ted).  The political problems that create these non-entities are very hard to resolve, so waving a magic wand is unlikely to do the trick.

The funny thing is that I was thinking of these kinds of countries after listening to Bill Simmons's podcast with NBA commissioner David Stern.  The commish mentioned that the NBA appears in 215 countries or so, but the UN only has 192 countries or so.  Which means the NBA appears in countries that are lacking in the rule of law and then some.  Verrry interesting.  To me, at least.

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