Adonis Diaries

A Nation, a State, or a Redundant community?

Posted on: November 16, 2008

A Nation, a State, or a Redundant community? (November 17, 2008)


There are over 190 States recognized by the UN.  How many of these States can we establish to constitute Nations? Since the 19th century till today the world experienced “Nationalist” ideologies and most of the resistance movements to foreign invaders claim to be national resistance.  I will attempt to define the elements that characterize claim to a Nation by first enumerating what I consider to be Nations and then fine tune the progressive synthesis to capture the main characteristics.

Since antiquity and going strong till now I have in mind the following nations as category 1: China, India, Iran, and Egypt.  From the Medieval Age till now we have category 2: Russia, France, England, Sweden, Mexico, Morocco, and Turkey.  From the Renaissance till now we have category 3: USA, Japan, Germany, Italy, and Spain.  In the last century we accumulated the following nations in category 4: Brazil, Australia, Pakistan, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria, Norway, and maybe Canada.

The recent list of nations suggests that size of the population and then the size of the land are big factors.  I listed Canada for two reasons: the size of the land and the fact that the USA is guaranteeing its independence and economical prosperity.  The nations in category 4 are large enough in human and natural resources that they may survive blockades or natural calamities for an extended period if no external assistance is offered.  The large islands such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia are self contained and managed to form a rather homogeneous population in culture and tradition.

The nations in category 3 have earned their status as nations through arm struggle and reconstitution based on language and common culture.  The nations in category 2 have proven their endurance as entities through arm struggle and countless battles and revolutions to unify the population under one banner and one language.  Nations in category 1 are prime nations that constituted the foundations for all cultures and civilizations.  Ancient Iraq of the Babylonian, Assyrian, and Acadian civilizations could not hold their empires (which included the “Fertile Crescent” City-States in Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine) long enough without serious interruptions to be included as a nation.  Present Iraq had the potentials in human and natural resources for being inducted a full nation if it had avoided the invasions of the USA through democratic processes.

Thus, what are the elements that enhance the constitution of nations?

First, the geographic location with natural borders (such as deserts, high mountain ranges, large rivers) that limited foreign incursions, until our modern times.  (Islands such as England and Japan are prime examples)

Second, the construction of transport infrastructure to encourage trade and communication among communities.

Third, a formal and central language even if not all the population speaks it.

Fourth, a formal and central religion within a diversity of religions and sect.

Fifth, frequent arm struggles that unite the population under one banner and one central government.

Sixth, size of the resources in population and land that permit renewal of the energy after calamities and warfare.


If I missed a criterion, please remind me. For now I have listed 23 nations and I can foresee nations in the making such as Ukraine, Argentina, Poland, Viet Nam, Thailand, Mali, Philippines, and Malaysia which might enlarge the list to 31 nations. Yes, we have rich European States such as the Netherlands, Denmark, and Switzerland.  Yes, we have a few oil rich States such as Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Sudan, and Algeria but the stability of these societies for the duration are doubtful for now.  Maybe Algeria is a strong candidate with the guarantee of the European Union for its stability.

In short, I decided that we have 23 nations and 8 more potential nations and 6 super Nations (USA, China, India, Russia, Brazil, and the EU). The European Union is definitely a new type of generalized nation based on common culture, a culture that the “other people” would have the task of defining explicitly through the actions and policies of the EU.  That is fine and dandy; how to reach World Peace and Stability?  How to secure a viable and durable future for the next generation? Check my article “Sabbaticals for thinking”.

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November 2008

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