to be or not to be a state

it seems to be the most prevalent question by scholars of civil wars, why so many civil wars reoccur. most theories come to the conclusion that it has something to do with the structure of the pre- and post-war system. following this perspective, most programs of international interference in the form of conflict resolution and security sector reform target exactly this aspect by highlighting the need to create “democratic institutions” and “free markets” as if it was the aspirin and penicillin of state systems. now, i might have spent too much time concerning myself with secessionist state-minorities recently, but i still can not help but wonder: why not just split up?

in every marriage council nowadays there comes the point where a couple realizes that the fighting is just not worth it anymore and they get a divorce. sure, this is a nasty process of deciding who gets the house, who gets the car, and how do you arrange the custody of the children, but in the end a split up gives both parties the freedom to do do what they want again. now, states are no married couples of different nations and ethnicities, and their dissolution tends to go down in even more flames than the bickering within the inconvenient marriage. but to keep them forcefully together just because we have decided to do so by creating a state-based supranational institutions that today is the only statehood-granting organization in this world – yes i am talking about the united nations – i don’t quite see how this is fair either. not that international relations have ever been built around “fairness” or that we could ever hope to universally define what is “fair”, but in times of leading rhetoric circling around “rights”, “dignity”, and “liberty”, i cannot help but frown at the hypocrisy displayed. today the united nations is like an ‘old boys’ network that can deliberately decide whether an entity is recognized as a new member or not. but if your state happens to be a part of this network, represented by a majority within your state that has no interest on losing its resources of the territory you live on, it is just highly unlikely that any progress will be made in that direction. palestine is a good example for that. palestine is recognized to be a state by 80 out of 193 member-states of the united nations. almost half of the planet recognizes palestine. yet most still do not consider it a country. bad luck, palestine, it is the ‘wrong’ half of the planet that supports your claim. plus there is no regulation saying that you have to get 50% or ⅔ of the united nations general assembly supporting your claim in order to gain your own space of color drawn boundaries on the map. and thus the top-down, west-leaning cutting of the world’s map continues.

so, once again, i find myself in the position of being unable to present answers to my readers. instead i post questions into this open space of the internet hoping for some echo or response: can anybody tell me, why, despite the obvious fact that redrawing the map is unlikely to be achieved without conflict, we seem to live in a world that so tightly holds on to its colonial map? who decides that the blood spilled in civil wars is less harmful than the blood spilled in secessionist wars, when not even the argument “civil wars are limited to one country, secessionist wars will spread” holds anymore (see arab spring, syria)?

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