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Published On: Thu, Aug 8th, 2013

Somaliland:5 New Countries That Might Exist By 2025

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5 New Countries That Might Exist By 2025

With violence in Xinjiang continuing and tensions in Chechnya and Dagestan back in the public consciousness, it seems almost cliché to say the end of the sprawling, imperial nation-state is here, or at least not far off. Hell, a couple thousand signatures for an independent Texas got the foreign press questioning if even the U.S. wasn’t immune from secessionist conflict.

Now, have the massive, multi-ethnic superpowers of the modern world really reached their breaking point? The answer’s a big, emphatic no. While there’s certainly no shortage of secessionist claims in Russia, China, and the surrounding geopolitical region they dabble in, it’s unlikely we’ll see any new (internationally recognized) countries emerge from the Caucuses or Central Asia. A major precedent — any one secessionist success story — could set off new fervor in any number of independence-minded areas that could radically undermine the neighborhood superpowers’ international standing. For the leaders of Russia and China, maintaining their borders against secessionist challenges is an essential part of maintaining their political legitimacy. Sorry, Tibet.

But that’s not to say altogether new countries aren’t on the horizon. With a spate of referendums on the way in several advanced democracies and increasingly-loud secessionist calls in younger, less stable countries, a handful of very different states may be breaking on to the international scene in the near future. Here are a handful of the potential contenders for newest kid on the international block.

1. Scotland

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Via: David Gordon

As far as independence movements go, Scotland has it made — the Scottish National Party, the country’s largest political party, already has cleared out its calender for a September 18, 2014 referendum.

But what makes the Scottish case unique isn’t just the planning ahead. It’s that the state they may be separating from, the United Kingdom, is actually OK with the whole idea of an independent Scotland. Prime Minister David Cameron signed off on a legal framework for referendum to take place alongside First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond last fall. With the biggest obstacle to succession — the ability to secede — taken care of, the Scottish question becomes one of nuts and bolts: can the Scottish economy be self-sustaining? How will an independent Scotland relate to the UK? The EU? What about military and foreign issues?

On some of these grounds Scotland may very well be better off on its own. An independent military coupled with close UK relations would cost Scots significantly less than they’re paying now to support the British force. Greater authority over tax and fiscal policy could help Scottish lawmakers better tackle distinctly Scottish social problems like education inequality — the disparity in educational attainment between the rest of the UK and Scotland is equivalent to that of Hong Kong and Turkey, according to LSE economists. But independence isn’t utopia: pensions could be squeezed, inheritance of a portion of the UK’s national debt is still up in the air, and, even then, independence-minded Scots are polling behind their unity minded neighbors by a significant, though shrinking, margin, about 9%. But with this case, one thing is rather certain: it is going to be the people that decide.

2. Catalonia

Via: Belle News

With Spain’s economy in shambles and PM Mariano Rajoy increasingly mired in scandal, it’s no wonder calls for Catalan independence have grown stronger (and maybe even more compelling) as Catalonia rumbles toward the controversial 2014 referendum. Home to one of Europe’s biggest metropolitan areas, Barcelona, Catalonia has seen hundreds of thousands of citizens turn out for protests in favor of independence despite the Spanish constitution’s ban on secession.

An independent Catalonia could be sustainable too: the region, about the size of Belgium, accounts for a quarter of Spain’s total exports, and Spain takes more than it gives, spending only 57 cents in the region for every dollar of taxes collected there. Ban Ki-Moon and David Cameron have offered some support for Catalan self-determination. It’s been suggested that about 60% of Catalan citizens support secession, but hard-line opposition to independence in the rest of the country may hamper what would seem like a done deal in many other nations.

3. Republika Srpska