COMMENTARY ON "BORDERS"
takes issue with Zenpundit
on the nature of borders and offers some incisive caveats worth considering further:"It is often said that the borders drawn by European imperialists are "artificial" borders. But the reality is that ALL borders are artificial.
These borders are real nonetheless. There is a reason that millions of Mexicans flee to the US. On this side of the border there is something different going on than on the other side. And that something different is so significant, so pregnant with opportunity that millions of people are willing to legally and illegally leave behind all they have known to take advantage of those opportunities. That border is very real.
The fact that there is greater movement of information, ideas, people, products, diseases, etc., doesn't mean that borders are irrelevant. The movement across borders is not random. There are patterns to these movements and these patterns are dependent upon the particular conditions created within borders. Millions of Mexicans are moving to the US; millions of Americans are not moving to Mexico. There is a reason for that.
There are many people who fantasize about a world with no borders. But as long as there are significantly different conditions and opportunities on one side of a border rather than another, we will find larger numbers of people moving one way rather than another. And this will create conflict because those who are the recipients will be reluctant to allow unlimited entry across their border and you will then have enforced borders.
The end of history has not come, therefore there will continue to be conflicts between different factions and they will ultimately determine the borders based upon the territory that they can claim and defend regardless of whether the UN and various nations demand that the borders as they exist today are sacrosanct and must have a government."
I don't really disagree with Phil's reasoning here since it is soundly rooted in economics as well as human nature. My qualification is that while all borders are real/artificial some borders are more one than the other; in the case of most African countries, the lines have been drawn in such a way as to impede the formation of stable systems. In other words, if we began from scratch in Africa and tried to draw a map where countries would end up with relatively homogenous cultural majorities on the European nation-state model, the outcome would be totally unrecognizable - at least south of Egypt and Algeria.