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.
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.
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.
3. Republika Srpska
Milorad Dodick “has no faith in Bosnia-Herzegovina.” The downright Putin-esque leader of the Republika Srpska (or Serb Republic), one of two political entities that make up Bosnia-Herzegovina, has made no secret of his general contempt for the rest of the state of which he’s ostensibly a part. And while his claim the “Nobody can prevent us from holding a referendum” may seem bold, with Serbian-Kosovo relations on the up and up, there’s a legitimate precedent set for successful (albeit bloody) succession in the Balkans.
Quebec will be watching the results of the Scottish and Catalan referendums particularly closely next year. If successful, they’ll provide a framework for how the majority French-speaking Canadian province goes forward with its long and tortuous efforts to become a sovereign state. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s approval ratings have plummeted as his administration has become embroiled in scandal, which has only served to bolster the separatist Parti Quebecois — a situation not too dissimilar from Catalonia’s.
Somaliland, tucked in between Ethiopia and the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden, takes the expected secessionist paradigm and flips it on its head: a relatively stable, moderate democracy looking for independence from a country synonymous with failed governance, Somalia. And while Somaliland certainly has its reputation as an oasis of peace in the Horn of Africa going for it, little progress toward recognition as a sovereign state has been made since it declared independence during the Somali Civil War in 1991— so far, no states recognize the region of 3.5 million.
Full article: 5 New Countries That Might Exist By 2025 (policymic)