Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Long delay but I'm still thinking. One topic that's been recently on my mind due to the events stemming from Trump's declaration of Jerusalem is territorial claims.

We know that many wars have been fought and many nations continue to have tense relationships over disagreements over territory. China and India are both nuclear armed countries who have fought wars and continue to have border skirmishes over land. India and Pakistan as well as Russia and Ukraine. Islands in the S. China sea sometimes have multiple claimants leading to acrimonious relations and possibility of armed conflict.

My proposal seems to me to be novel and I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who is knowledgeable on the subject.

Simply put, my idea is of overlapping territories as a solution to territorial disputes. Say the example of a city Bunkerville. Two countries, Eng and Chang, claim it as theirs. The inhabitants of Bunkerville are divided into two nationalities (Engans and Changans).

One way to settle it would be to have that city geographically divided (one half of the city go to Eng and the other half go to Chang) and then segregate the population accordingly. That's similar to the status quo situation for Jerusalem and many of the proposed settlement solutions.

But why can't it remain intact?

Perhaps the citizens of one country can only vote in their elections while citizens of the other can only in theirs but the city is otherwise undivided and remain multi-national. The benefit is that BOTH countries can then claim all of the city (and for historical and cultural reasons they may both have some justification to lay claim) like two Siamese twins sharing a piece of flesh.

I see no obvious problems with this. Things overlap all in nature and in man-made society.

Laws may have to be adjusted so that some laws only apply to one group but not the other or else have the citizens decide on laws that all can live with which may be different from their respective countries proper. But consider countries like Malaysia where you have three main populations: Tamil Indians, Chinese and Malay. These three main groups have different religions and customs. The laws of Malaysia are often group relative. Indians and Chinese are able to buy liquor for example while the Muslim Malay are by law not allowed (as alcohol is Haram in Islam).

There are practical problems. The first of which is simply getting the people of both nations to agree to this. It might be something of a compromise and territorial disputes are often uncompromising. However if no other obvious and better solutions are available, this should be an option for a modus vivendi.

I'm sure there are lots of other problems but also potential benefits to this solution but it may very well be better than the dangerous and seemingly intractable positions we see around the world today.